Chaos and unrest have grappled Croatian football at the moment as Zdravko Mamic, former executive director of one of the most famous clubs in the country, Dinamo Zagreb, is facing trial having allegedly embezzled funds and evaded taxes.

In the eye of the storm is 31-year-old Croatian midfield maestro, Luka Modric who had won Europe’s ultimate club competition, the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid about a fortnight ago. This time, however, the captain of the Croatian football team has hit the headlines for entirely different reasons.

The big story

Zdravko Mamic is a highly hated figure in Croatia. He has been accused of killing domestic potential by shipping young talents to bigger clubs in Europe and immorally making huge profits on the transfers.

According to the Guardian, been accused of misappropriation of up to 15 million euros in transfers, including Modric’s own move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 as well as for evasion of 1.5 million euros in taxes.

Public stance

Public opinion in Croatia regarding Modric has long remained polarized due to his association with the ‘mafia’ of Croatian football, Mamic. However, many of them cut him slack after he went on to prove his mettle on such a magnificent scale at Tottenham and Real Madrid.

However, recent proceedings have turned the tide in his favor. Being key witness to the case alongside Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren, Modric was supposed to testify about his financial dealings with Mamic.

When enquired about his deal with Mamic over his transfer from to Zagreb to north London, Modric blatantly said that he did not remember. What was outrageous was the fact that Luka seemed to backtrack on his own previous statements last year when he agreed to the charges brought against Mamic, who kept a big chunk of transfer fee from Spurs for himself rather than Dinamo.

Earlier statement and recent contradiction

When asked by prosecutor Tonci Perkovic about the details of his transfer to Tottenham, Modric had earlier agreed that half of the fee paid to Dinamo went to his bank account.

He would then take some of the money out and pay it to Zdravko Mamic, by handing the cash to his brother or son.

“I went to Tottenham for about 21 million euros and I received a part of that transfer fee. The payment was made on the basis of an annex I signed with Dinamo on 50-50 basis. That is what I talked about with Mr. Mamic”, he had said in an official statement.

What does this look for Luna Modric?

As Modric so conveniently forgot about all that at the trial recently, he is being considered as a major collaborator in this ugly scandal.

Croatian football fans see this act as disgraceful and wish for him to be stripped of the captain’s armband. Graffitis have popped up all over the country accusing him of being a ‘cash machine’ and Mamic’s puppet. However, this could be the least of Luka’s worries as he faces the possibility of a 5-year prison sentence on charges of perjury.

Modric might be a great player loved by millions across the globe, but corruption in football needs to be uprooted, no questions asked.

Hopefully, Modric gets justice depending on if he was innocent or guilty, the latter is the high probability now with all the evidence against him.

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