On May 4, 2002, Josko Vlasic wrote in a short notebook that he was certain that his son Nikola, then four and a half years old, would one day become a professional footballer. Two years earlier, in Sydney, his eldest daughter took part in her first Olympic Games. The breeder of a Splitois champion therefore knows a thing or two about the Piff. Now retired, Blanca (37 years old) still holds the second best result in high jump (2.08m) history and is pleased to see his younger brother (23 years old, 25 caps) explode on the international scene with Croatia . What if the match against Spain confirmed that No. 10 CSKA Moscow was indeed the new Luka Modric?
This is understandable, as this is his first major international tournament. But in Croatia, he has already been known for some time, especially in Split, knowing that he is Hajduk’s youngest goalscorer in the history of the European Cup. (At 16 years and 9 months, against Dundalk FC’s Irish in a Europa League qualifier on July 17, 2014, editor’s note.) And it’s been a long time since I jumped, for the sake of the younger generation, people now know me through them. Before, it was the opposite: We cast Nicola as Blanca’s brother. But with the goal he scored against Scotland, he definitely made a name for himself. He always said: “When people start calling me by my first name, I feel like I’ve achieved something.” ” Well, it’s done: it’s no longer “Blanca’s Brother” Well, this is Nikola.
We think you’ve moved.
Listening to my voice you can imagine how much I screamed when he scored. Starting him against Scotland was really the best time to start him in the tournament. You know we are a family of players and it was my father who started training them. (Josko Vlasic was also Blanca’s coach during his career, editor’s note.) We knew the potential he had and he has proved it since his debut with Croatia. (in 2017) Or with CSKA. She has learned to be a true professional athlete and now is her time to shine. I am very proud of that…
what kind of man is he?
He is a very polite person, for example you will not see him spreading his personal life on social networks, he prefers to focus solely on his matches and himself from what is said about him in the press not be affected. You know how it can be in football! We forget him, but he is only 23 years old. I wonder how mature he is for his age, he’s already a married man! And besides, he has a sharp and enlightened mind. He learns not only from his own mistakes, but also from the mistakes of others. This is a great quality in the game.
“I know that Luca (Modri) and Nicola have a great relationship in the team. Luca plays a role model.”
As a former top athlete, have you ever given him any advice? Can we spot the similarities between high jump and football? For example in the case of running…
I was asked many times, but no, we have a brother-sister relationship. Obviously we talk about the game from time to time, and if he needs advice, he can come and find me. Honestly, there isn’t much in common between high jump and football, if only because the latter is a team sport. On the other hand, coming from a family of players taught them what they needed to do to achieve success very quickly. But above all it was my father who went with him and gave him good advice. For my part, I was able to part my own way, as he grew up with me during my career and had to catch a little practical talk here and there.
Within this aging Croatian team, Nikola represents a new generation, and some are already talking about him as the new Luka Modric. Do you think this is appropriate?
Whatever it is, it’s a great compliment, because Luka is one of the greatest players of all time, we are very proud of him in Croatia as well. I know he and Nicola have a great relationship in the squad and Luca is playing the role model. So it’s a great honor to be compared to him, because for me Nicola is really an enlightenment within this new generation. And, as we have seen against Scotland, mixing it up with experienced players is a great way to win and go very far in this Euro. Obviously, we shouldn’t sum everything up in a game and we know how difficult it can be to poke holes in, especially in team sports where we have to wait for the moment to be able to take chances. But I am very confident that Nikola has a very good future in the national team. In any case, he deserves it. Whether as a man or as a player.
in a newspaper column team, Ivan Rakitic recently announced that we are now “See the real Croatia” .
He is right, because we have proven that we can take the pressure off our shoulders. If we play every game against Scotland, there’s no opponent we can’t beat, I honestly believe so. And if we have that confidence in ourselves, then we are able to play against the best that we are anywhere else, because otherwise we wouldn’t have been in a tournament like this. So the match against Spain will be very interesting to watch and I hope it won’t be the last.
Will you be in Copenhagen to please her?
Yes ! There are some formalities yet to be completed, but normally I will be there. It can be stressful as ever, because watching someone play a game is always more difficult than performing it yourself because in the stands, you are completely passive. He said, “Today I am very happy in my role as a supporter!
Interview by Julian Duejo
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