Croatia begin their FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign tomorrow when they take on Morocco in Group F.
Led by Real Madrid veteran superstar Luka Modric, the Vatreni made it as far as the finals in the competition four years ago. And the 37-year-old midfielder, who had finished as the best player of the tournament back then, is looking forward to leading his team again.
“I feel very good. There is nervousness. Natural. I am excited to lead Croatia to a great tournament. As far as the team is concerned, I think we have worked well these five days. I’m healthy and ready, that’s the most important thing,” he said in a press conference (h/t MARCA).
Considering that he is already 37, there is a good chance that it will Modric’s final World Cup while the possibility of international retirement is also looming. When asked if he was thinking about calling it time on his international career after the World Cup, he said:
“Honestly, I feel good. I play almost everything with Real Madrid, I still feel good when I play football. I’m here at the World Cup to continue playing, to continue enjoying football. I don’t think about what will happen later.”
“I haven’t made a decision about it yet, I’m here to play a good tournament and that’s definitely what I have in mind. We’ll see what we do,” he added.
Modric’s former Real Madrid teammate and Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo insisted that he will retire if he won the World Cup. When asked if he would also consider doing that, Modric replied:
“If that’s what it takes for us to win, then I’ll say goodbye. We always give our all when we wear this jersey and I hope the fans are happy with us. We’re going to do our best.”
Modric’s club future is also a topic of discussion as his contract with Real Madrid expires at the end of the season. However, it is widely expected that he will renew his contract for another year. For now, the midfielder’s focus will be on the Croatian national team.
Real Madrid midfielder set to sign a four-year contract with the club
In a major development, journalist Tomas Gonzalez-Martin is reporting that Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos has decided to sign a new contract with the club and will pen a four-year deal to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 26-year-old midfielder’s current contract with Real Madrid stands to expire at the end of the season. And there had been conflicting reports over whether he would be offered a new deal by the Merengues.
But the Spaniard has managed to turn things around spectacularly in recent weeks, putting up top displays one after the other, helping Real Madrid emerge out of a poor run at the start of the new year.
It has convinced the club to hand him a new contract and it seems like things are moving swiftly on the renewal front for Ceballos.
Indeed, as per the update from Tomas Gonzalez-Martin, Real Madrid have decided to offer him a new four-year contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2027. It will see the midfielder receive an improved salary to the one that he is currently earning.
And Ceballos has decided to sign the deal. The former Real Betis ace has always maintained that he wants to continue at the Bernabeu beyond the current campaign. And the two parties could now be close to shaking hands on a new contract.
Ceballos joined Real Madrid from Real Betis back in 2017, arriving as one of the most talented young midfielders in La Liga. However, he found the going tough initially, thanks to the hegemony of the midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.
The Spaniard spent a couple of seasons on loan at Arsenal before returning to the club in 2021. If not for an injury while away at the Tokyo Olympics, Ceballos could have been sold that year.
Having returned to action in January last year, he has slowly but surely gained importance in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans. And he is now set to be rewarded with a new four-year contract by the champions of Spain and Europe.