Dalic feels Modric retirement would be 'a pity' for all football fans

By Sports Desk December 14, 2022 795

Luka Modric opting to retire from international duty would be "a pity" for all football fans, according to Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, who hopes the midfielder will continue with his team.

Modric won the Ballon d'Or after leading Croatia to the World Cup final in Russia four years ago, and the Real Madrid star enjoyed another fine tournament as Dalic's men reached the final four in Qatar.

However, the 37-year-old was unable to inspire his team to a semi-final victory over Argentina on Tuesday, leading to suggestions he may call time on his international career.

Modric refused to give anything away regarding his future after Tuesday's defeat, but Dalic hopes his captain will still be available after Saturday's bronze medal match. 

"He was very disappointed yesterday, the defeat and the game were hard on him," Dalic told reporters on Wednesday. "It's logical that he feels that way, it was really hard for him. 

"Our concentration is on the game on Saturday, we haven't talked about that [retirement]. We have to prepare for that game. 

"I hope he stays in the national team. Of course, he will decide himself. We have a game on Saturday and we'll talk after that.

"If Luka says goodbye to the national team, it will be a pity and regret for all the fans around the world. He showed so much good football, but he also proved to be a top professional. 

"When he wins and when he loses, he behaves like a true professional. It is difficult for him, and he will make his own decision. 

"It will be difficult for me, too, if he decides otherwise. The whole world respects Modric. It would be nice if he continued."

Although Modric criticised referee Daniele Orsato for awarding Argentina's Julian Alvarez a first-half penalty in Croatia's defeat, he also expressed his hope that Albiceleste great Lionel Messi goes on to lift the trophy.

Dalic believes that gesture demonstrated Modric's class. 

"The most difficult thing is to remain dignified in defeat. It shows the greatness of Luka Modric to congratulate them all, and it is difficult for him, as well as for all our players," Dalic added.

"That gesture shows that we are big. When the French bowed to us in Moscow, that's a gesture that makes you happy. Croatia is still worth something in world football."

Dalic outlined his intention to remain in charge of Croatia after Tuesday's loss, with their Euro 2024 qualification campaign set to begin against Wales on March 25.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 14 December 2022 17:21
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