Luka Modrić’s incredible gesture came just a few minutes after he celebrated Croatia’s qualification for Euro 2024 on the Maksimir pitch. The Serbian goalkeeper, Ognjen Čančarević, who defends for Armenia, had promised his son that he would play against the best in the world, and when his son asked if it was Mbappé or Haaland, Čančarević responded that it was Luka Modrić. Modrić gifted Čančarević a jersey and the goalkeeper praised him as the best football player in the history of their region, expressing his honor and privilege to play against him.
After the match, Čančarević congratulated Croatia on their victory and their well-deserved qualification to the Euro. He mentioned that Armenia had tried to impose themselves with a young team without two standard players, but Budimir’s goal in the 43rd minute disrupted their efforts. He also expressed his belief that Croatia can go far in the Euros, acknowledging their result crisis but emphasizing their experience and ability to play in big competitions.
In an interview at a Croatian festival later that evening, Čančarević commented on the poor state of the stadium. He agreed that it was a problem that needed to be addressed. Although he is used to playing in stadiums like this in Serbia, he felt that national teams like Croatia deserve better facilities when they achieve such results. He expressed hope for changes soon so that future generations of footballers can benefit from improved conditions.