Football News

Modric equals Matthaus with historic appearance as Croatia hold France in the Nations League

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 23:06, 6 June 2022

Luka Modric made history as he took the field for Croatia’s 1-1 draw with France in the Nations League.

Even if Modric had played terribly against Les Bleus, he would have left the field a history-maker because he was making his 150th appearance with the Croatian national side.

Modric was already the record appearance-maker for Croatia, having surpassed Darijo Srna some time ago, but now he joins and elite club of European men with 150 international appearances.

While Modric is only the 36th man to make 150 international appearances across all confederations (still an impressive feat) when it comes to Europeans he’s part of a magnificent seven.

And he celebrated that achievement in some style, helping Croatia get their first competitive point against the French since a 2-2 draw at Euro 2004 (the last Croatian tournament not involving Luka Modric).

Modric kept France honest the whole game in Split, making interceptions, playing long-balls and completing 93% of his passes. He was pure silk as usual, showing no signs of age for just over an hour before having to be replaced 10 minutes before the end.

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Modric shows no signs of slowing down. He is level with Lothar Matthaus on 150 appearances and should surpass the great German in Croatia’s next game. Then there’s Estonian Martin Reim on 157 appearances, which Modric should be able to reach this year given the World Cup and other fixtures.

Beyond that, who can say. It seems impossible that Modric will reach 200 caps but recall that he played 13 times for Croatia in 2021, which is the second-most appearances he’s ever made for his country in a single year.

With medical science improving, who’s to say how far Luka Modric can go? He will surely end his international career as part of the five most-capped European men in football history, could he be one of the top three?

The full list of European men with at least 150 international appearances is as follows:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo: 188 appearances (Portugal)
  2. Sergio Ramos: 180 appearances (Spain)
  3. Gianluigi Buffon: 176 appearances (Italy)
  4. Iker Casillas: 167 appearances (Spain)
  5. Martin Reim: 157 appearances (Estonia)
  6. Lothar Matthaus: 150 appearances (Germany)
  7. Luka Modric: 150 appearances (Croatia)