There is a lot of unrest in Croatian football at the moment as Zdravko Mamic, former the executive director of Dinamo Zagreb, is on trial having been charged with embezzlement and tax evasion.
Mamic is a figure that has been hated by Croatian football fans for some time as they have accused him of killing the domestic game by farming players out to clubs in Europe and taking a tidy profit for himself, which has seen great interest in his trial resulting in it broadcast online for all to see.
Luka Modric, along with Liverpool's Dejan Lovren, were key witnesses in the prosecution's case as they were supposed to testify about their financial dealings with Mamic, and while Lovren's appearance has been postponed due to Mamic dramatically causing a scene by sacking his lawyers and declaring that he would defend himself, Modric's comments did not go down well.
Modric had always split opinion with domestic fans due to his dealings with Mamic since he was a child which, while legal, were considered immoral [best explained in an informative piece by Total-Croatia-News.com] and against the best interests of Croatian football, but many had given him a pass after he became such a good player for Tottenham Hotspur, and then Real Madrid.
But now it seems that even his fans in Croatia have turned against him, as when asked about his financial deal with Mamic over his transfer from Dinamo Zagreb to Spurs, where Mamic has been accused of taking the money that was meant to be given to the club in that deal, the midfielder claimed that he did not remember.
The Independent explained the situation earlier in the week:
The former Tottenham man is one of the key witnesses in the trial of Zdravko Mamic, a former chief executive at Dinamo Zagreb, where Modric played before joining Tottenham in 2008. Among other things including embezzlement and tax fraud, Mamic is charged with illegally keeping a big chunk of the transfer fee from Spurs for himself rather than for Dinamo. The investigation showed he did keep it and the defence is not even trying to deny that, but they claim there was nothing unlawful about it.
What the prosecution is trying to demonstrate is that the annex was only signed and backdated after the player had already been sold.
In his questioning last year, Modric said that was the case.
Now, however, he claims he never said that; upon being confronted with details of his initial statement, he explained he got confused.
In backtracking on his previous statement, he has enraged Croatian football fans who are now demanding that he be stripped of the captaincy of the national team.
Graffiti slamming Modric has also popped up across the country, calling him a 'cash machine', and a puppet of Mamic.
Mural for Luka Modric in Mostar defaced after he changed his testimony in favour of Zdravko Mamic at the latter's corruption trial. pic.twitter.com/xTbRRygzYP
— Rusty Woodger (@rustywoodger) June 14, 2017
— Aleksandar Holiga (@AlexHoliga) June 14, 2017
Keep in mind, this is Luca Modric we're talking about here. The captain, and star player, for many people the best midfielder in the world right now, and he is a hate-figure among Croatian football fans.
He's in a very ugly situation, and we can only imagine Dejan Lovren is dreading his appearance when the trial resumes.