Former Bayern Munich striker Ivica Olic has labelled Luka Modric as “one of a kind” and believes he still has a few more years left at the top level.
The Real Madrid midfielder has spent 16 years within Croatia’s international fold, accumulating over 150 caps for the 2018 World Cup runners-up.
Modric, 36, is in the twilight years of an illustrious career but shows no signs of stopping – and the recent Champions League victory with Madrid was his fifth time lifting the trophy.
While there might soon be a changing of the guard in Madrid’s midfield, with the signing of Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco and Eduardo Camavinga already excelling in the squad, the picture is different in the national side.
Croatia’s all-time most capped player will remain a key part of the squad heading into the 2022 World Cup and, while it may prove to be his last international tournament, Croatia assistant coach Olic believes Modric will not hang up his boots completely.
He told Stats Perform:
“I think Luka still only thinks about games and about playing football. He just still has that will.
“When I look at his philosophy, how much he’s working on himself, I think he’s going to play for a few more years.
“After that, if he wants to stay in football, wants to be a coach, then he will definitely devote himself to it and be successful at it.”
Modric recently stated he remembers every one of his international appearances, and Olic feels he still has plenty to teach the younger players within the squad.
“He recently played his 150th game for the national team. After that game he said he remembered every single one of those 150 games, both the first one, which he played a long time ago, and the most recent one, a few days ago.
“He’s still full of vigour, full of will and he couldn’t wait to join the national team after a long and difficult season.
“He showed what a captain, what a great player and what a great person he is. He arrived on the first day and is training and playing. He’s one of a kind, definitely, regardless of his age.
“He trains and works as if he were 25 years old. I would be happy if he could play more games for us and stay healthy because he means a lot to the team.
“The younger players still have a lot to learn from him and he’s just a phenomenon.”
Olic also believes Modric is still “irreplaceable” at Madrid, highlighted by a stunning assist against Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
“The whole world still admires him. He still amazes us with some moves, like recently when they played in the Champions League. Then he played a pass of over 20 or 25 meters with the outside of his foot,” he said.
“Everyone has talked about it. No matter where I was, people only talked about it. So, he’s still playing at the best level and he’s still majestic and unique.
“He’s irreplaceable for us and for Real Madrid. The fact that they offered him a new contract shows how much they value him.”
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