5/5/2018 10:23:43 PM (GMT+3)

Despite club rivalry, Rakitic, Modric, Kovacic retain close bonds

Despite club rivalry, Rakitic, Modric, Kovacic retain close bonds

MADRID, Spain: Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic will face the Real Madrid duo of Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic in the final Clasico of the season tomorrow, but despite the clubs’ intense rivalry, the Croatian trio retain close bonds.

In fact, the trio will bolster their team’s midfield at the World Cup in Russia.

If fit, Modric, Rakitic and Kovacic will form a formidable triumvirate in central midfield for Croatia at this year’s World Cup in Russia.

There will also be Fiorentina’s Milan Badelj and Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic, and it is no wonder that this department of Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic’s team is held in such high regard.

“Modric is our best player. He’s the engine that makes us go. He’s also a captain who leads by example. He always sets high standards with his attitude, aggression and energy on the pitch, and with his behaviour off it,” said Dalic.

But at the club level, they are fierce competitors.

Rakitic has joked in the past of wishing Modric “scores five goals in every game... but still doesn’t win”. Modric, for his part, said before a Clasico last year, “We will hug and talk after the match... hopefully, I will have to console him!”

"I am sure Kovacic will succeed Modric. He has incredible talent. I adore him. Although he has improved a lot, we have not yet seen all he can give. But we will. He is the future of Madrid,” said Croatia’s most-capped player Darijo Srna. (Inputs from fifa.com)