OSIJEK, 10 October 2021 – Luka Modrić (36) stood before the press on Sunday before the World Cup qualifier between Croatia and Slovakia in the Osijek tomorrow night.
What are your thoughts on the last match with Cyprus and how do you see this match going with Slovakia?
“The match was difficult, it was very important to win three points. We were solid and compact, the most important thing was that we won. Tomorrow we will have a difficult match against a team that is good, that likes to play. I believe we will be right like last month, like in the game against Cyprus even though Slovakia is a much tougher opponent. But with the support we have here, where we feel comfortable, I believe we will get to the important three points,” Modrić said.
How do you see Slovakia’s position after the defeat in Russia? What does this mean for Croatia?
“Honestly, we don’t need to worry much about the situation with Slovakia, regardless of the fact that they are in a difficult situation for qualifying. That’s not to say they’re not a quality team. We have great respect for them, we need to look at ourselves, try to get and win three points that will bring us closer to the goal.”
How did you see the games in September which you missed through injury?
“The team did a great job, we won seven points from three difficult games. The guys were at a high level and, when they win, the atmosphere is immediately better. But the game itself is an encouragement. And last month and this one against Cyprus. I believe we will continue in the same tone.”
How do you feel in Osijek? The national team has not played there for almost two and a half years.
“We feel really comfortable, we are happy to be in Osijek after a long time, with the fans too. The atmosphere here is always phenomenal, you feel how much people love us and give us support. It means a lot to us and that’s why we feel so comfortable playing here. We believe that we will continue in this symbiosis between us and the fans in Osijek.”
Will you take a penalty again after the miss in Cyprus?
“I am ready to take responsibility again if the coach allows it,”said Modrić as he laughed.
How do you view the nomination among the 30 candidates for this year’s Ballon d’Or?
“It’s nice to be nominated again, it’s the most special individual award for a single player. It is a really great honour and a nice recognition for my games last season,” concluded Modrić.