Luka Modric speaks out on retirement as Croatia near Euro 2024 exit

Luka Modric of Croatia
Luka Modric of Croatia poses for a portrait during the Croatia Portrait session ahead of the UEFA EURO 2024 Germany on June 10, 2024 in Neuruppin, Germany.

Luka Modric insists he will not retire after Croatia were left on the brink of elimination at Euro 2024 on Monday evening.

The 38-year-old became the oldest goalscorer in the history of the European Championship as he put Croatia in front against Italy, just 33 seconds after missing a penalty.

A win would have secured Croatia a second-placed finish in Group B behind Spain, however, Italy snatched a 1-1 draw in injury time to finish as runners-up.

The results means Croatia finish the group stage with just two points and are highly unlikely to progress to the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Earlier this month, Modric agreed a new one-year contract extension with Real Madrid but admits he is unsure how many more seasons he has left.

‘I’d like to keep playing forever but there probably will come a time when I have to hang up my boots,’ Modric said after Croatia’s draw with Italy on Monday.

‘I’ll keep playing on but I don’t know for how much longer.’

When asked if this could be his final appearance for Croatia, Modric replied: ‘We’ll see, it’s not for those stories now.’

In a separate interview, Modric described the result against Italy as ‘cruel’ and criticised the decision to add on eight minutes of injury time.

‘I don’t know what to tell you, football is sometimes cruel, that was shown to us today, what is, is there,’ the midfielder said.

‘We didn’t deserve this goal, I don’t know where the referee gave eight minutes to extend. How you should fall, that’s how we lost today. I know it’s not a consolation.’

Asked about his record of being the oldest goalscorer in the history of the European Championship, Modric said: ‘The title means nothing to me when it didn’t help the team.

‘We fought like lions, but football was cruel to us. They conceded two goals in the last seconds. It’s hard to describe this, it will take time to come to our senses.’

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