Real Madrid fans will have rejoiced for Croatia, making it through an incredible World Cup quarter final against Brazil, with one of their stars Luka Modric leading the way. However they also had divided loyalties, with Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Eder Militao on the other side.
In particular, hearts might go out to Rodrygo, who took the first penalty and had his effort saved by Dominik Livakovic. It ended up being decisive, as Brazil crashed out in the quarter-finals.
Following the match, Modric could be seen speaking with Rodrygo, and he was asked what he said to his Real Madrid colleague.
“It can happen to anyone. Rodrygo must be congratulated because in this match, with all that it means, having the strength and mentality to take and shoot a penalty is worth congratulating him for. Everyone can fail, I have told him, I have told him I remember, I was a few years older than him when I missed my penalty in the shootout against Turkey in 2008. I was 23. It’s not easy but I’m sure it will make him stronger and he’ll gain more experience and strength to continue. I’m sure he’s going to get stronger with this, nothing happens.”
“Everyone fails, I have given him encouragement and strength. A pity because it was him and because I get along very well with him, but I’m happy for my country, that we are in the semis.”
MD carried his comments, where Modric once again showed his character and leadership qualities.
Often Real Madrid’s ability to bounce back or come through in big moments is highlighted as a differential factor for their side over the last decade. The parallels between Croatia and Los Blancos suggest that he may well be a major part of it.