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Luka Modric talks Messi, Argentina, refereeing, retirement after World Cup exit




Croatia succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Argentina in the semifinal of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a game that saw Lionel Messi produce yet another sublime display of attacking prowess.

Croatia’s defeat meant this might be the end of the road for Luka Modric, as far as his international career is concerned. Speaking after the loss, the midfielder talked about the game, along with the referee and even his retirement.

“We are sad, we hoped to be in another final and it has not happened. We must congratulate Argentina,” said Modric (h/t AS), who voiced his disapproval at the referee’s decision to award a penalty in the first half when Julian Alvarez was taken down inside the box.

“I can’t believe that penalty was awarded,” he said. “There is no foul on the penalty because he shoots and will definitely collide with our goalkeeper because of that. It is clear that it changed the game a lot.”

Modric openly criticised the referee Daniele Orsato, revealing that he has had poor experiences in the past as well.

“I don’t usually talk about referees, but today it’s impossible not to do so. [Orsato] is one of the worst I know and I’m not talking only about today, because I met him before and never had a good memory of him. He’s a disaster,” he said.

Modric, though, did congratulate Argentina for their brilliant overall overperformance, adding, “I want to congratulate Argentina, I don’t want to take credit away from them. They deserve to be in the final. But that first penalty wasn’t a penalty and it destroyed us.”

Speaking to Ole (h/t Mundo Deportivo), Modric added that he hopes Messi wins this World Cup, saying: “Hopefully (Messi) wins this World Cup, he is the best player in history and he deserves it.”

Finally, Modric talked about a potential retirement. But he did not offer much insight, indicating that this is not the right time to talk about his career. “I don’t know, we’ll see. This is not the time to talk about this. We have a bronze medal to win now,” he said.

Croatia will face the loser of the second semifinal between France and Morocco, for the third-place game later this week.

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Real Madrid News

Kovacic speaks ahead of Real Madrid vs Chelsea: “Strange to have Modric as a rival”



Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

In less than two weeks, Real Madrid will play hosts to Premier League giants Chelsea in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It is a repeat of last season’s Champions League quarter-final, with the change being that the first leg was played at Stamford Bridge back then, which Real Madrid won triumphantly.

So, even though they lost the second leg 3-2, Los Merengues progressed on aggregate. At one point in the second leg, Real Madrid were 3-0 down and looked to be crashing out of the tournament.

But, that is not how the match played out as Luka Modric produced a moment of magic, sending in a stunning outside-of-the-boot pass for Rodrygo to guide home. That forced the match into extra time and Karim Benzema then scored to seal an aggregate win for his team.

Mateo Kovacic, a former Real Madrid midfielder, was on the losing side with Chelsea on that fateful night. And the Croatian has now spoken to Sportske Novosti, about that moment of magic from Modric last year as well as the prospect of facing Real Madrid again.

“We were good against Real Madrid last year, especially in Madrid. Then Modrić invented that trivela assist for Rodrygo… We have to be at 120% against them. They immediately punish every minor mistake. Although I repeat, we are also a difficult opponent for them, we showed it, Kovacic said.

On the prospect of facing his close friend and national teammate Modric, Kovacic added: “[laughs] how the draw arranges it… It won’t be easy for us because Real Madrid is always the most dangerous team in the Champions League.”

“It’s a strange feeling to have Modric as a rival. There were hard fouls last year because neither he nor I pull back. We will fight for sure. I play on the left, he’s on the right, we will see who wants what. But I wouldn’t like to hurt him,” he added.

Chelsea had met Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League during the 2020/21 campaign as well and had managed to eliminate them at the semi-final stages on their way to winning the title.

While the Blues have not been in the best of form this season, they have the star power and quality in their ranks to hurt Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti’s men must be at their best to get through to the next round.

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