Mandzukic recently announced is retirement from football and apparently, the former Juventus man once went three years without having a personal relationship with Luka Modric.
The Real Madrid midfielder addressed his early personal relationship with his former teammate in his autobiography ‘My Game’ which was released in 2020.
“Mario is a special guy. He sometimes seems grumpy and that he’s in a bad mood. Anyone who doesn’t know him well would think that really moody.
“All this time I knew him as a great guy, with a great heart. He was very dear to me from day one, although it took me a long time to understand just what he’s like. We spent a lot of time together in the national team.”
The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner also touched on how an innocuous incident at a hotel prompted a drift in their relationship.
“On a visit to Iceland, when we were up against them in the playoffs to go to the World Cup in Brazil, I ran into Mario in front of the hotel elevator.
“‘Come on, Mario, we’re going to go hard today,’ I told him, like we always do before training or games. Mandzukic, however, surprised me with his reaction.
“‘Look at yourself, leave me alone.'”
Luka Modric added:
“It seemed to me that it was just something that happened in the moment. It was as if he was in a mood with me and I couldn’t explain it logically.
“I always had a good relationship with Mario. We were in constant contact until then. Then there was silence, the relationship cooled off.”
Effective communication could have prevented the drift between Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic
According to Modric, both he and Mandzukic were wrong in how they handled the issue at the initial stage.
“If it happened today, I would have cleared it up immediately or, in the worst case, at the next team meeting. But I was defiant too.
“When two difficult people short circuit, the energy disappears. Frankly, I was wrong, but I didn’t want to take the first step. Obviously neither did he.”
They, however, resolved the issue when Modric took the step to initiate contact and seek clarity on what happened.
“I waited for the right moment and started the conversation. ‘I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that we no longer have a close relationship,’ I said. I wanted to know why we have been speaking exclusively to each other in a professional way for over three years.
“We spoke openly and I watched as the ice between us was melting; it was a problem that 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.”
Mario Mandzukic’s professional career lasted from 2004 to 2021 during which he represented some of the biggest clubs in the world including Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Juventus.
He was also a regular on the international stage with Croatia, making 89 appearances and scoring 33 goals.