Croatia’s Luka Modric proves not all footballers are bad

By | Category: Travel rumblings

It’s fair to say that footballers, by and large, get a bad press. They’re overpaid, pampered and, if England’s performance against Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter finals was anything to go by, pretty useless to boot.

Yet while the majority of Premiership players are arrogant and out of touch, happily there are a few good apples. For every John Terry – the Chelsea player, currently at the centre of a racist row, who cheated on his wife with the ex-girlfriend of one of his former teammates – and Joey Barton (the ex QPR skipper who elbowed, kicked and headbutted three opponents on the final game of the 2011/2012 season), there’s the lovely Luka Modric.

Adrian and I met the 26 year old Croatian, who plays for Tottenham Hotspurs, at a Croatia press reception (held at White Hart Lane) last month. The evening, aimed at showcasing the buzzing Adriatic city of Zadar (Croatia’s rising star), saw the midfielder make a guest appearance. Only I wouldn’t call it an ‘appearance’. Mr Modric spent the entire evening mingling with the assembled journos, posing for photographs, signing autographs et al.

Luka Modric

A one off, right? Wrong. I recently met Kerry Miller – sports editor at the Andover Advertiser and author of The History of Non-league Football Grounds. Miller had just returned from a press trip to Croatia and while he was less than enthused about the country’s cuisine, revealed he was crazy about Croatia – and its charming people. Particularly one Luka Modric.

Miller and mates had been at a bar when they spotted the Spurs playmaker. Once again, Luka took time out to chat to these football fans and visitors to his homeland – nothing was too much trouble. Luka eventually left but not without sending over a bottle to Miller’s table, thanking the British journos for coming to Croatia.

Most people visit Croatia for its Roman marvels, rocky coves, pine fringed beaches and the fact that it’s a cheap destination (being out of the Eurozone until 2013). However friendly locals like Luka are undoubtedly another attraction.

The in-demand midfielder is rumoured to be leaving White Hart Lane this summer and as former Spurs manager, Harry Redknapp, told Sky Sports on Friday: “It would be (a huge loss). He is irreplaceable.”

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