REAL MADRID superstar Luka Modric revealed he fell out with Croatia team-mate Mario Mandzukic for three years before the 2018 World Cup.
Mandzukic announced his retirement on Friday following a stunning career that saw him winning titles with Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Juventus.
The legendary striker was also among the driving forces that led Croatia to the final of the 2018 World Cup where they lost to France after eliminating England in the semi-finals.
Excerpts of Modric's autobiography My Game have resurfaced after Mandzukic's retirement which reveal that the Real legend and the 35-year-old drifted apart for three years following a misunderstanding in a hotel.
They both patched things up before the World Cup in Russia and are close friends again even though the star midfielder still claims Mandzukic was on the wrong.
Modric said: “Mario is a special guy. Sometimes he seems grumpy. Those who don'tknow him well would think that in reality he is always frowning.
"All this time I have known Mario as a great boy, with a big heart. I loved him from day one, even though it took me a long time to understand [him].
"We spent a lot of time together on the national team. On a visit to Iceland, when we were trying to go to the World Cup in Brazil, I ran into Mandzukic in front of the hotel elevator.
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"'Come on Mario, we're going hard today,' I told him, since many times the players cheer each other on in training or before the game.
"Mandzukic, however, surprised me with his reaction: 'Look at yourself, leave me.' It seemed to me that it was a momentary upset.
“I always had a good relationship with Mario. We were in constant contact until then. Then there was silence, the relationship cooled.
"If he had had the wisdom of now, he would have clarified it immediately or, in the worst case, in the next concentration of the national team.
"But I was also defiant. When two difficult people are short-circuited, the energy disappears. Frankly, he was wrong, but he didn't want to take the first step.
“I waited for the right moment and started the conversation. I wanted to tell him how sorry I was that we no longer had a close relationship. I was interested to know the reason why we had been communicating exclusively in a cold way for more than three years.
"We spoke openly and saw that the problem came out of nowhere. 'I didn't get mad at you. I thought you were sulking with me', he told me.
"I said the same thing. Positive energy flowed between Mario and me again. We share some traits: a kind of introversion, a little more difficult to show emotions, we know how to be stubborn.
"But he is the person I would go to any fight with. Whatever it is, I know he will give everything, protect your back and never betray you."
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