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Euro 2024: Was this Luka Modrić’s final dance with Croatia?

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This may increasingly have been the final time we see Luka Modrić in a significant worldwide competitors. And for the commemorated Actual Madrid midfielder who helped his nation to back-to-back World Cup semifinals, it ran the total gamut of feelings.

Modrić was offered with a golden alternative to raise Croatia right into a 1-0 lead over Italy in a must-win Group B finale after receiving a penalty alternative in 54th minute. 

However his shot in the direction of the underside proper nook of the aim was parried away by Gianluigi Donnarumma, the Italy keeper and Euro 2020 hero who continued his stellar Euro 2024.

As Melissa Ortiz put it on “FOX Soccer NOW” postgame present, there is not any ache that is worse than blundering a possibility to place your group forward in a much-needed recreation like that.

The “stunning recreation,” although, typically presents stunning probabilities to rebound from errors. Modrić’s got here only a minute later, as Croatia regained possession of the ball and performed it again into the field for an try on aim. Donnarumma stopped that shot too, however Modrić was in prime place for the deflected ball, and rifled a tricky shot into the higher left nook of the web.

Luka Modric turns into oldest aim scorer at Euros, provides Croatia 1-0 lead vs. Italy

Modrić’s aim induced a seismic eruption in Leipzig Stadium among the many Croatian devoted, who lavished him with immense reward when he was subbed off the pitch within the eightieth. However within the last minute of stoppage time, it was Italy who clamored in celebration following the primary worldwide aim of Mattia Zaccagni’s profession.

The 1-1 last marked doubtlessly the final worldwide look for the legendary 38-year-old, who grew to become the oldest participant (38 years, 289 days) to attain a aim in Euro historical past. 

Croatia would have moved into second place in Group B and computerized qualification within the knockout stage with a win, however due to Zaccagni’s aim, Italy secured that spot as a substitute. Croatia now faces an uphill battle to be one of many 4 third-place groups with a spot within the knockouts, which means Modrić might have represented his nation for the final time on a significant worldwide stage.

Ortiz was conflicted in regards to the realization of that actuality.

“On one aspect of me, I am completely happy that he was capable of finish it considerably on a private, particular person excessive word, however as a group, it is a bit bit saddening to see that such a legend is [likely] not shifting on,” Ortiz mentioned. “However on the similar time, we have been capable of get pleasure from him, and he was capable of win a Ballon d’Or in 2018, get very far in World Cups. 

“It simply speaks wonders in regards to the participant that he’s, that he was, that he’ll proceed to be at Actual Madrid. Everyone’s applauding him as a result of regardless of for those who’re not a Croatian fan, you are still a fan of Luka Modrić.”

Jimmy Conrad concluded that Modric had authored among the best worldwide careers ever — ought to this be it for him.

“From my private perception, he is among the best winners of this era,” Conrad mentioned. “Clearly a serial winner with Actual Madrid, and took Croatia to nice heights, heights they may’ve by no means imagined attending to — a World Cup last [in 2018] — it is ridiculous. It is a nation of three million folks, and I believe he symbolizes what they’re about: The perseverance, the onerous work, combating by way of adversity. They’re gonna must do it as soon as once more whether or not he is on the group or not.  

“I believe what I really like about Luka Modrić is he epitomizes what I really like in regards to the stunning recreation total. You may be any form or dimension and have success. You do not have to be this huge 7-foot, 6-foot-8 man, tremendous muscly to have success.”

Former Leicester Metropolis captain Wes Morgan by no means received the prospect to play towards Modrić, however that does not take away from his appreciation for his recreation.

“Watching him at Tottenham, what an impressive participant,” Morgan mentioned. “A lot class and beauty on the pitch, the best way he flowed, the best way he received on the ball, I believe gamers taking part in in opposition can study a lot when it comes to the way to obtain, the way to flip. … The qualities he had along with his short-range, midrange, long-range passing, his creativity, the appropriate weight of move. Full footballer, regardless of what’s occurred tonight, you realize his legacy’s cemented, and I believe all Modrić followers would like to see him go additional on this competitors, but it surely wasn’t meant to be.”

Nonetheless, Morgan was adamant that he’d like to see Modrić stay current within the sport like loads of Actual Madrid legends earlier than him.

“When it comes to his future, who is aware of what occurs subsequent?” Morgan mentioned. “Internationally, most likely could possibly be over however we might like to see him in some kind of capability within the recreation nonetheless, whether or not or not it’s on the pitch or off the pitch.”

Modrić has recorded 178 appearances for Croatia since 2006, and has scored 26 targets. He led the squad to a second-place end on the 2018 World Cup and within the 2023 UEFA Nations League, in addition to a third-place within the 2022 World Cup.

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