Modric reminds Croatia to prioritize Qatar despite their memorable 2018 World Cup
Croatia's World Cup exploits at Russia 2018 remain "unforgettable" for Luka Modric but the veteran midfielder wants to put those memories aside in Qatar.
Modric claimed the Ballon d'Or in 2018 after guiding Croatia to the final of FIFA's top tournament, which ended in defeat to France, while winning a third consecutive Champions League with Real Madrid.
The 37-year-old and coach Zlatko Dalic are two familiar faces from the Russian run in an otherwise much-changed squad.
Modric was named Golden Ball winner at the last World Cup, given to the tournament's best player, but wants to put previous success behind him ahead of Wednesday's Group F opener against Morocco.
"Definitely, what we've been through in 2018 in Russia is unforgettable and indelible in my mind," the Madrid legend said on Tuesday.
"Others can continue speaking about it but we need to put it aside and focus on what's ahead.
"Many players at the 2018 World Cup in Russia are not here, we have new players, new quality young players with fresh blood and energy. This is a new tournament and we have to look at it that way."
#Croatia openers at the previous World Cups— HNS (@HNS_CFF) November 22, 2022
1998 Jamaica (3:1)
2002 Mexico (0:1)
2006 Brazil (0:1)
2014 Brazil (1:3)
2018 Nigeria (2:0)
2022 Morocco #FIFAWorldCup #Qatar2022 #Vatreni pic.twitter.com/Juqh0m6D1X
Croatia have lost their opening game in three of their five World Cup appearances, with the exceptions being 1998 when they reached the semi-final and 20 years later where they made the showpiece game.
Dalic's side appear in good form after coming through qualifying without any real scares and topping a Nations League group that included France and Denmark.
While Croatia have won each of their last five games, Modric insisted Dalic's men will show respect to Morocco, who are ranked 22nd in the world by FIFA.
"We have to maintain a modest attitude and not make big promises or make great claims that we'll achieve something," he added.
"I'm prepared physically and I'm in great shape. I'm healthy but drawing comparisons with other World Cups makes no sense. It's important to feel prepared and ready to win."
If Croatia can go one better than 2018, Modric vowed to call an end to his illustrious international career.
"If this happens it would be great. I'll retire if we win," he concluded.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Sports Tak Staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)