Croatia’s match against Kosovo was halted on Saturday due to an unplayable pitch at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, Croatia thanks to torrential rain.
As conditions improved, the match was picked up the following day, with Croatia winning 1-0. But according to Croatian star Luka Modric, that’s not the whole story.
The Real Madrid midfielder says the team did not learn of the rescheduled match until the following morning, giving the team no chance to ready their bodies to play again the next day.
“Last night we got information the match will not be played,” Modric told reporters after the match. “Of course, you go to bed a little later and then in the morning, they woke us all up like they would in the army! Of course, we didn’t have good preparation for the match.”
That’s not all. Not only was the decision made late, but now Croatia has just one day of rest until their away match in Turkey on Tuesday. Modric is livid that accomodations were not made to move that match back a day and keep from forcing Croatian players to essentially warm up for three matches in four days time.
“FIFA showed they don’t care about the players,” Modric said. “The only thing that mattered to them was the match to be played. On Saturday, it was hard to play at that pitch but no one seemed to care. If they did care, they would have postponed the Turkey-Croatia game to Wednesday.”
Luka Modric could be in very big trouble indeed.
Last week the Croatia and Real Madrid superstar returned home to Croatia to testify in the trial of Zdravko Mamic, the former chief executive of Dinamo Zagreb who oversaw his transfer to Tottenham Hotspur back in 2008.
Previously Modric, 31, was a key witness in Mamic’s trial for charges including embezzlement and tax fraud, but after changing his statement Modric is now suspected of alleged perjury according to a statement released by the Croatia State Attorney Office (DORH).
Under Croatian law Modric, who has won three UEFA Champions League titles in the past four years at Real Madrid, could face anywhere between six months and five years in jail if found guilty of perjury.
The crux of this case is Mamic’s involvement in Modric’s transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham where he is charged with taking a huge portion of the transfer fee for himself.
Mamic’s defense admits he took the fee but they claim there is no wrongdoing in that case as the contract between Dinamo and Modric had an annex stating the transfer fee would be shared between the club and player.
Modric initially confirmed what the prosecution believes to have happened, with the contract alleged to have been signed and backdated after he was sold to Spurs. Yet Modric then stated he was confused and has since changed his story.
The DORH has released a statement regarding Modric’s testimony on June 13, 2017.
“State Attorney’s Office in Osijek opened the investigation against Croatian citizen (1985) due to the existence of reasonable doubt that when giving testimony before the County Court in Osijek committed a crime against justice by giving false testimony under Article 305, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code / 11. (6th 19th 2017).”
OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has appeared as a key witness at a corruption trial, testifying about his financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director charged with tax evasion and embezzlement.
The 31-year-old Modric, who is not a suspect, spoke Tuesday about financial details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham.
Modric says he had a deal with former Dinamo director Zdravko Mamic to pay the club 50 percent of the transfer. He says the transfer to Totenham was worth “between” 21 million and 23 million euros ($23.5 million and $25.8 million).
The authorities have accused Mamic, his brother Zoran and two others of embezzling 12 million euros ($13.5 million) of the club’s money since 2008 and not paying 1.6 million euros ($1.8 million) in taxes.
The 40-game unbeaten run seems like a distant memory.
Real Madrid had lost two straight matches before a 2-1 La Liga win over Malaga on Saturday, but despite the three points, they still did lose in a way.
Los Blancos lost both Marcelo and Luka Modric to injury in the match, and both could potentially miss up to a month of time.
Modric has been in and out of the squad this season due to injuries, and during his other lengthy spell on the sidelines, he was replaced adequately by 22-year-old Mateo Kovacic, and he was the man to replace Modric against Malaga with 12 minutes remaining. Reports say the Croatian suffered an adductor injury which can be quite painful and could keep him off the field for a number of weeks.
Marcelo, meanwhile, has been a staple in the Madrid lineup, appearing in the last 11 league matches and starting all but two of those. Marcelo was brought off just 25 minutes into the Malaga win reportedly with a hamstring problem, replaced by Isco. The likely long-term replacement for the 28-year-old Brazilian would be Nacho Fernandez, who has seen time this season on both defensive flanks.
The injuries puts not just the immediate La Liga and Copa del Rey futures of the two in jeopardy, but also could affect their availability for the start of the Champions League knockout stage which begins on February 15th against Napoli.
Video replay was used for the first time at an official FIFA sanctioned event in the Club World Cup. Real Madrid players were not happy.
Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric spoke out against the replay system used to award a penalty in one match and confirm a goal in another.
“I don’t know what to say,” Modric said after Madrid defeated Club America 2-0. “It is something new. To be honest, I don’t like it. It creates a lot of confusion.”
Real Madrid players were left befuddled after Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal was initially ruled offside, and play briefly resumed before it was halted again to view the replay. “We had a meeting with referees the other day,” Modric said. “I did not listen too much as I don’t expect it continue. For me it is not what football is about. We will see what happens. The first sensation for me is not good.”
Cameras caught Madrid superstar Ronaldo joking about the replay system, chuckling while saying, “The television doesn’t work, huh?” as he walked off the field.
Replay was also used in the other semifinal between Colombian side Atletico Nacional and J-League winners Kashima Antlers to award a penalty in Antlers’ 3-0 win. In both instances, play was briefly stopped while a replay official looked at video on the sidelines.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was less critical than his players. “My personal opinion is that it could cause some confusion but FIFA’s technical group will make a good decision. It could be better as everything could become clearer.”