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Josko Gvardiol eulogises over standout Croatia star ahead of Euro 2024

© Reuters
Manchester City's Josko Gvardiol says that Croatia are determined to triumph at Euro 2024 in order to "honour" Luka Modric.

Manchester City defender Josko Gvardiol has said that Croatia are determined to triumph at Euro 2024 in order to properly "honour" Luka Modric and his outstanding career.

Modric is widely expected to sign a new one-year contract at Real Madrid, having impressed for Carlo Ancelotti's side during the 2023-24 campaign, scoring two goals and registering eight assists in 46 appearances in all competitions.

Euro 2024 is likely to be the 38-year-old's last international tournament, and Croatia will play in Group B at the competition alongside Spain, Italy and Albania.

Gvardiol is at the other end of his career, with the 22-year-old regarded as one of the country's outstanding talents, and the Man City defender has lavished praise on Modric ahead of this summer's competition.

"I sincerely hope this will not be his last major competition as I can see he is still in impeccable physical form. Luka has changed the trajectory of Croatian football in general as well as the way that other nations look at our national team. He has given so much to this national team, and has won so many trophies," Gvardiol told UEFA's official website.

Luka Modric celebrates scoring for Croatia against Scotland at Euro 2020 on June 22, 2021© Reuters

Euro 2024 likely to be Modric's final international tournament

"I think the only way we could honour him and his legacy would be to go all the way to the end in this EURO and win the trophy. He has done so much for the national team as well as for us young players.

"I remember the first time I joined the team, he provided so much support and advice. He remembers when he was young and started playing for the national team and how much he was helped by the older guys in the team at that time. This is our chance and I sincerely hope we will make it happen together."

Modric's international career started back in 2006, and he has represented Kockasti on 175 occasions, scoring 25 goals and registering 29 assists in the process.

Croatia will kick off their Euro 2024 campaign against Spain on June 15, and the national side will be aiming to advance past the quarter-final stage of a European Championship for the first time in their history.

Croatia's Andrej Kramaric celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on September 11, 2023© Reuters

Croatia have never been past the last-eight stage of a European Championship

"It is a tough group and importantly, we are well aware of that. As far as Spain are concerned, we struggle playing against them traditionally, but it is a great honour to face them too because they are a big football nation.

"They are very well known for keeping possession throughout the game and it will be a great match. The same goes for Italy. They have unquestionable quality in their squad. I think the recipe for every game is that we have to try and control it and take the initiative.

"We have to control the ball, because if we just try and aimlessly run without it we will struggle in achieving our final goal. I am solely focused on the first game [against Spain]. It is the opening game of a new competition and everybody is naturally a bit cautious. That is why I think the first game is the hardest."

Croatia reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship in both 1996 and 2008, but they were knocked out in the round of 16 at Euro 2020.

The national team have enjoyed recent success in the World Cup, though, finishing as runners-up in 2018 before claiming third at the 2022 competition in Qatar.

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