Petak, 19 srpnja, 2024

DANI OLMO: Modrić Embodies the Croatian Mentality. Gvardiol is My Friend, but Today I Don’t Wish Him All the Best

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Dani Olmo gave a special interview to HRT where he mostly talked about the Croatian national team and his time at Dinamo. He discussed mentality, Gvardiol, and Modrić.

We’ve talked about the Croatian mentality before; can you tell us more about this competitiveness? How is it possible that they are so strong?

“They have the right mindset. I spent five years in Croatia, from 16 to 21 years old. During that period, I learned so much. Character is key; in everything they compete in, they aim for victory. That’s why I think their team always deserves respect, especially in tournaments like this.”

You came to Zagreb from Barcelona. You had a challenging path; can you recall any special moments in that country? Did you realize that you would have to adapt and that it would be harder than for others?

“It’s always different and tougher; I left at a very young age. Initially, I came alone, but my mother joined me after a month, making it easier. My routine was to train and then sleep. Everything was different in Zagreb; I was out of my comfort zone and had to grow up faster. My Dinamo teammates helped me a lot.”

Regarding former teammates, you played with Gvardiol twice, first at Dinamo and then at Leipzig. What kind of player is he, especially now under Guardiola?

“We didn’t play much together at Dinamo because he was very young then. The next season, he did a great job and earned a transfer to Leipzig. We spent much more time together there; Joško is one of the best defenders in the world. Recently, he’s been playing excellently as a full-back. Guardiola is one of the best coaches in the world and can teach him a lot. I’m very happy for him because we are great friends. However, in the match against Croatia, I don’t wish him all the best (haha).”

You’ve played against Croatia twice; the first time was at the Euros, and it was a real thriller. This suggests that Sunday’s match could be tough again. You dashed Croatia’s hopes with an assist; what do you remember most about that match?

“It was a very exhausting match with an incredible result. We need to learn from it because such lapses in concentration should never happen again. We shifted into a higher gear; personally, those two assists were satisfying. It was my first match against Croatia and very special.”

Then the Nations League final, again against Croatia? How was it playing 120 minutes against the Vatreni?

“I was injured and didn’t start the match. I did everything I could to play a few minutes in the final. Luckily, I didn’t have to take a penalty because we eventually won and took the trophy.”

Although we constantly talk about mentality, how is it embodied in Luka Modrić, who possesses incredible intelligence and technique, but also a remarkable competitive spirit?

“Luka Modrić is a perfect example of all that. He is an amazing person and shows how special he is match after match. Croatians display this mentality, especially at World Cups. We are both fortunate and unfortunate to have to play against them in our first match; it will definitely be very tough. We want to show everything we know, and for me, it will be a special match.”

I wish you all the best in the Euros, except on Saturday against us!” Olmo concluded.

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