Home Sports Luka Modric poses for the ‘unhappiest player of the match award ever’ only minutes after Italy’s last gasp equaliser leaves Croatia on the brink of Euro 2024 elimination – before dropping major retirement hint

Luka Modric poses for the ‘unhappiest player of the match award ever’ only minutes after Italy’s last gasp equaliser leaves Croatia on the brink of Euro 2024 elimination – before dropping major retirement hint

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Luka Modric received the Man of the Match award after Croatia's 1-1 draw with Italy
  • Luka Modric scored just 32 seconds after missing a penalty against Italy
  • Italy’s equalizer in the 98th minute leaves Croatia on the brink of elimination from Euro 2024
  • Listen to It’s all starting! England hysteria! Are the Three Lions missing Jordan Henderson’s leadership?

Luka Modric looked distraught as he posed for a photo, man of the match award in hand, minutes after Croatia’s last-gasp concession all but ended their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024.

The 38-year-old had an eventful evening in Leipzig, in a match his country needed to win to guarantee progress to the round of 16 of the competition.

Modric had the chance to put Croatia ahead after being awarded a penalty in the 54th minute following a handball from Davide Frattesi, and the veteran stepped up to put his team ahead.

But his shot was weak and easily parried away by Gianluigi Donnarumma, leaving Modric devastated. Although he could hardly have made peace quicker.

Croatia regained possession and mounted another attack, with Donnarumma making another great save to deny Ante Budimir. However, his save fell at the feet of Modric, who this time did not miss.

Luka Modric received the Man of the Match award after Croatia’s 1-1 draw with Italy

The Real Madrid star could only watch as his team conceded the goal in the last breath in Leipzig.

The Real Madrid star could only watch as his team conceded the goal in the last breath in Leipzig.

Mattia Zaccagni (pictured) scored a spectacular late equalizer to leave Croatia on the brink of elimination.

Mattia Zaccagni (pictured) scored a spectacular late equalizer to leave Croatia on the brink of elimination.

But unfortunately for the Real Madrid star, Mattia Zaccagni’s 98th-minute equalizer leaves Croatia on the brink of elimination.

Modric, who will turn 39 in September, called the late concession cruel and admitted he doesn’t know how much longer he will continue to play.

“We continued fighting until the end, but unfortunately tonight football had no mercy on us,” he said. “It was cruel… but that’s part and parcel of football.

“When you lose like that, it’s hard to find the words to describe how you feel. Maybe it’s unfair because we all fought for Croatia from the first whistle to the last.

“We should be proud of the way we represented our country tonight.”

He added: “I would like to continue playing forever, but there will probably come a time when I will have to hang up my boots.” I will continue playing, I don’t know for how much longer.”

His display was enough to see him claim the Man of the Match award, for which he dutifully posed, even if he looked like he’d rather be anywhere else in the world.

Modric had given Croatia the lead just 32 seconds after seeing his penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Modric had given Croatia the lead just 32 seconds after seeing his penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

1719269885 27 Luka Modric poses for the unhappiest player of the match

1719269886 581 Luka Modric poses for the unhappiest player of the match

Fans were quick to comment on the image of the 38-year-old clutching his prize immediately after his country was essentially eliminated from the tournament.

Fans were quick to comment on the image of the 38-year-old clutching his prize immediately after his country was essentially eliminated from the tournament.

Fans were quick to comment on social media, with some claiming the image was among the “unhappiest” ever taken of a player receiving the award.

“Luka Modric just received the unhappiest MOTM award of all time,” one fan wrote on X. Another said: “Why did they take this photo?”

‘Modric won the MOTM award. As you can see, he’s not very happy. He wrote a third.

The midfielder’s goal earned him a place in Euro Cup history as he became the oldest goalscorer in the tournament.

Modric was hoping to come out strong, having finished second and third, respectively, in the last two World Cups.

But Croatia had a poor start to the tournament, losing 3-0 to Spain before drawing 2-2 against Albania.

They must now hope that other results will come their way in the next two days, but this could be the end for Modric on the international stage.

Modric compared the defeat to Croatia's extraordinary elimination from Euro 2008 after they took the lead with just a minute left in extra time.

Modric compared the defeat to Croatia’s extraordinary elimination from Euro 2008 after they took the lead with just a minute left in extra time.

He was taken off with just over 10 minutes remaining and could only watch in despair as his teammates could not hold on to the three points.

“It’s hard to top the game against Türkiye in 2008, but this game is probably pretty close.” He added that Croatia was left out of the European Championship 16 years ago. “It is certainly a sad day for us and for the Croatian team.”


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