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Luka Modric, the soccer legend we will all miss after Qatar 2022

Luka Modric celebrating Third Place after Croatia's victory over Morocco in Qatar 2022 (REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach)

Luka Modric celebrating Third Place after Croatia’s victory over Morocco in Qatar 2022 (REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach)

Luka Modric has said goodbye to the Qatar 2022 World Cup with a third place against the courageous Morocco, in a duel between two moving teams that expelled all the clichés that exist in football. The dream that Lukita once had as a child came true again: emulate the glories of the generation of France 1998, which led by Davor Suker reached the penultimate game. They lost against the locals, but they had thrown out Germany and surprised everyone.

The multi-champion Modric surpassed that mark four years ago, at the World Cup in Russia when he reached the Final and also lost to France. That year he won the Ballon d’Or to break the Messi-Cristiano duopoly. Soccer, finally, had done justice to one of the most outstanding players of recent times. He was already a winner of everything with Real Madrid, but the epic with his country was missing.

Luka Modric against Japan in his first World Cup: Germany 2006. (Nick Potts - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Luka Modric against Japan in his first World Cup: Germany 2006. (Nick Potts – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

It could not be in Germany 2006, his first World Cup, when Croatia was left out in the group stage. Nor in Brazil (they did not qualify for South Africa 2010), again eliminated in the first three games, now with a mature Modric and expert in big games. It took seniority for this fine midfielder to reap all the seeds he had sown. Time in soccer is even more relative than in real life: everything moves at an impious speed. Here we are, 16 years later, watching Modric say goodbye? of the World Cups. Let no one take it for sure. They don’t care about his 37 years.

What other player, in his position, played at that level at that age? Modric belongs to a special club, that of renegades who do not accept instructions from others. He will leave football when he wants. The only reproach to his career will be, precisely, that he leaves. Not even Luka Modric is eternal and there is nothing left to do but regret it.

Modric has won five Champions League with Real Madrid.  (Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Modric has won five Champions League with Real Madrid. (Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images)

He is great in victory, when he comforts his colleagues in front, and also when he loses: “The world respects us a lot after defeat. Our fans show the pride we feel in being among the four best in the world. As in Russia 2018, now in Qatar, I am a proud captain of the national team that has once again shown strength, unity, courage and character of fighters for our Croatia”, he wrote on social networks after the elimination against Argentina. Only he knows if this was his last performance with Croatia. If so, it remains to thank you and nothing more.

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