Modric the best Croatian player ever, says Rakitic

Croatia's Ivan Rakitic attends Croatia's official training in Roschino near St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 28, 2018, at the 2018 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

ROSCHINO, Russia (AP) Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic says teammate Luka Modric plays football ”from a different planet” and is the best to have ever played for their national team.

Rakitic grew up idolizing Croatian midfield great Robert Prosinecki but says Modric, now a four-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and Croatia’s captain at the World Cup, is at the next level.

Rakitic says ”not only is Luka the best player ever (for Croatia), but he is a great person, a leader and we are following him.”

Croatia plays Denmark in the last 16 at Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday. With many of Croatia’s so-called golden generation into their 30s, including Modric and Rakitic, every game now is potentially their last together at a major tournament.

Rakitic says ”if we at the end manage to lift this trophy, we go into international retirement happy.”