Real Madrid hero tips Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic to succeed him

Luka Modric believes Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic could be the player to take over the mantle of being Croatia’s leading player when he steps away from the international stage, according to reports.

Having made his debut for his country back in 2006, Modric is closing in on 150 caps, and is expected to play in this year’s World Cup in Qatar, which gets underway in November.

However, he is set to turn 37 in September, and appears to be aware that he is in the twilight of his international career.

Looking ahead to who could potentially replace him as Croatia’s key man, Modric tipped Kovacic to continue to drive the team forwards.

“I think Mateo Kovacic could be my heir, at least he is the player with the most talent.’ he told Marca.

“He has played in important clubs such as Inter and Real Madrid. He is at Chelsea now and is doing really well.

“He is one of the possible successors. Surely he can lead Croatia in the future.”

Kovacic himself has already made 75 appearances for the national team, but has largely been in Modric’s shadow over the years, both for Croatia and at club level when the pair played together at Real Madrid.

He has started to deliver on his undoubted potential at Stamford Bridge in recent years, though, winning the Europa League in 2019, before following that up by triumphing in the Champions League two years later.

Now, Modric feels he is ready to take on more responsibility, and this could lead to Kovacic taking the captain’s armband in the coming years.