Dalic thinks Modric’s retirement would be ‘damaging’ for all football fans

Luka Modric’s choice to step down from international duties would be “a pity” for all football fans, according to Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic, who hopes the midfielder will continue with his team.

Modric won the Ballon d’Or after leading Croatia to the World Cup final in Russia four years ago, and the Real Madrid star enjoyed another fine tournament as Dalic’s men reached the last four in Qatar.

However, the 37-year-old was unable to inspire his side to a semi-final win over Argentina on Tuesday, leading to suggestions he could end his international career .

Modric declined to reveal anything about his future after Tuesday’s defeat but Dalic will hope his captain will still be available after Saturday’s bronze medal game.

“He was very disappointed yesterday, the loss and the match were tough for him,” Dalic told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s logical that he felt that way, it was really hard for him.

“Our focus is on Saturday’s game, we haven’t talked about it [retirement]. We have to prepare for this match.

“I hope he stays in the national team. Of course he will decide for himself. We have a game on Saturday and we will talk after that.

“If Luka says goodbye to the national team, it will be a shame and regret for all the fans around the world. He showed so much good football, but he also turned out to be a top professional.

“When he wins and when he loses, he behaves like a real professional. It’s difficult for him and he will make his own decision.

“It will be difficult for me too if he decides otherwise. The whole world respects Modric. It would be good if he continues.”

Although Modric criticized referee Daniele Orsato for awarding Argentinian Julian Alvarez a first-half penalty in the loss to Croatia, he also expressed his hope that the Albiceleste great Lionel Messi continues to lift the trophy.

Dalic thinks this gesture demonstrated Modric’s class.

“The most difficult thing is to remain dignified in defeat. It shows the greatness of Luka Modric to congratulate them all, and it is difficult for him, as well as for all our players,” added Dalic.

“This gesture shows that we are great. When the French greeted us in Moscow, it is a gesture that gives pleasure. Croatia is always worth something in world football.”

Dalic has signaled his intention to remain in charge of Croatia after Tuesday’s loss, with the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign set to begin against Wales on March 25.

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