Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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HomeSportMessi v Modric: An epic encounter - Dhaka Tribune

Messi v Modric: An epic encounter – Dhaka Tribune

Two footballing greats face off for one last attempt at World Cup glory

“The winner takes it all” according to ABBA, a band that has been reliving its success all over again in recent months. The Swedish group's mantra certainly holds true in football, and this week two legends of the sport, Lionel Messi and Luka Modric, will be back in the spotlight at the Lusail Stadium to try to capture the only piece of silverware missing in their glittering careers.
This will no doubt be the last chance to keep their World Cup dream alive. When the final whistle blows, for one of them, the dream of reaching the pinnacle in any footballer's career will be over.
Messi against Modric, a historic clash
Let's take a look at what these two champions have already achieved in their careers. Both No. 10s in the purest sense of the term, capable of thrilling football fans with talent that makes the beautiful game look easy.
Messi and Modric have already faced each other several times in their careers courtesy of La Liga matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid and, more recently, in Champions League games between Madrid and PSG. There is also a precedent in the World Cup (3-0 to the Croatians at World Cup Russia 2018) and a particularly special encounter back in 2006, a friendly in which Messi scored his first goal for La Albiceleste while Modric won his first cap for Croatia.
The destiny of two Number 10s
Quality, quantity and charisma, leaders on and off the pitch, Messi and Modric both have pasts that are far from simple. As a youngster Messi had to fight to get to Europe and compete with other boys his age due to his small stature, but he possessed a technique that was already both unique and rare. Modric, on the other hand, grew up during the Balkans war that led to Croatian independence in 1991. Two different but similar stories that intersect in one of the most important matches of their careers.
As destiny would have it, there is one more unusual statistic that unites them: both have played and lost in a World Cup final and were then subsequently awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. It happened to Messi at the World Cup Brazil 2014, when Argentina lost to Germany in the final, and to Modric at Russia 2018, when Croatia lost 4-2 to France at the last hurdle.
Comparing their careers
Both Messi and Modric have won almost everything.
Messi's achievements are staggering: Ten Spanish league titles secured with Barcelona, as well as seven domestic cups and eight super cups; one Ligue 1 title and one French supercup; four UEFA Champions League titles, three UEFA Super Cups and three FIFA Club World Cups. With Argentina, he has won one FIFA U-20 World Cup, one Olympic gold, one CONMEBOL Copa America and one Finalissima. When it comes to individual honours, Messi has bagged seven Ballon d'Ors and was awarded the Golden Ball at the 2014 World Cup. It is a career that says it all, from which only one trophy is missing.
Modric's career also glistens with silverware: the midfielder won three Croatian league titles, one supercup and two league cups with Dinamo Zagreb. In a Real Madrid shirt, he has won everything there is to win: three La Liga titles, four supercups, one league cup, five UEFA Champions League titles, four UEFA Super Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups. With the Croatian national side, he came within a whisker of winning the last World Cup, losing to France in the final. However, as a small consolation, Modric was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament. He is also a Ballon d'Or winner.
Everlasting champions
“Lionel Messi is the absolute best and he has dominated this sport in the same way Michael Jordan was able to do in basketball”, Pep Guardiola, who is captivated by the Argentine No. 10, has said previously.
“Modric is immortal. He is always ready, always prepared and always plays well. He is a player who changes games”, Carlo Ancelotti said of the Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder this summer.
Tuesday's semi-final will allow us to enjoy their talents one more time.

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