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L. Modrić

Croatia boss Dalic hopeful talisman Modric won't hang up his boots after World Cup exit

20:43 SAST 2022/12/14
Luka Modric Zlatko Dalic Croatia 2022
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic has addressed Luka Modric's future with the national team, reiterating that he doesn't want to see him retire.
  • Croatia boss discusses Modric future
  • Midfielder tipped for international retirement
  • Bowed out of World Cup in semi-final

WHAT HAPPENED? As Croatia bowed out of the World Cup in the semi-finals thanks to a 3-0 defeat to Argentina, much was made about the future of Modric. He received a standing ovation and plaudits from around the stadium as he was substituted late on, with many believing that the defeat would be his final game in a Croatia shirt. Manager Dalic has opened up on how the midfielder feels and if he expects him to retire.

WHAT HE SAID: Speaking to reporters, Dalic admitted: "He (Modric) was very disappointed yesterday, the defeat and the match were hard on him. It’s logical that he feels that way (considering retirement), it was really hard for him.

"I hope he stays in the national team. Of course, he will decide about it himself. We have a game on Saturday and we’ll talk after that. It will be difficult for me if Modrić says goodbye."

He added: "If Luka says goodbye to the national team, it will be a pity and regret for all the fans around the world... It will be difficult for me too if he decides otherwise, but the whole world respects Modrić. It would be nice if he continued."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Modric, now 37, finished as a World Cup runner-up with Croatia in 2018 and picked up the Player of the Tournament award for his efforts, and was instrumental again as they reached the last four in Qatar. Before they leave, though, Croatia face a third-place play-off against the loser of France vs Morocco.

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WHAT NEXT FOR MODRIC? Before returning to action with Real Madrid, the legendary midfielder could say one last goodbye to international football in the World Cup's third-place play-off.