'We need him' - Croatia coach asks Modric to postpone retirement

AFP , Monday 19 Jun 2023

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic on Monday appealed to star midfielder Luka Modric to stay amid growing speculation the captain will retire from international football.

Croatia s midfielder Luka Modric looks on during the UEFA Nations League final football match between Croatia and Spain at the De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam on June 18, 2023. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)


Dalic's comments came a day after Croatia lost 5-4 on penalties to Spain in the Nations League final in Rotterdam.

"We need him, this is a generation that still did not complete the job," Dalic told reporters after returning to Zagreb.

The Real Madrid player famously led Croatia to a second-place finish at the 2018 World Cup and third place at last year's tournament in Qatar.

Croatia had been chasing their first ever major trophy against a Spain team Modric, 37, knows inside out.

On Monday, front pages across Croatia ran pictures of the dejected midfielder following the nail-biting defeat.

"It was rather emotional for him yesterday," said Dalic.

"Let him rest and he will tell us what he thinks," the coach added.

On Sunday, Modric said he had already made a "clear decision" about his international career but did not elaborate, according to reports in local media.

"I will not announce it today," said Modric, while leaving the stadium in Rotterdam.

Modric has played in 166 matches for Croatia since his debut in 2006.

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