Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic teamed up to create one of the most dangerous midfield partnerships at the World Cup.
Despite their defeat in the final to France, the pair were happy to celebrate a remarkable run to the competition’s end and swapped shirts to commemorate the occasion.
Although they play for fierce rivals at club level, in Real Madrid and Barcelona, Modric and Rakitic left each other a touching message on one another’s shirts following the campaign.
Modric captained his side to three group stage, including a 3-0 win over Argentina, before leading them to three successive knockout round victories via extra-time (twice on penalties).
For his important involvement in Croatia’s success, pulling the strings in midfield, he won the Golden Ball Award for best player at the tournament.
Team-mate Rakitic took to Instagram to share the pictures of their shirt swap and praise his compatriot on leading their country to the final and his individual accolade.
Rakitic said: ‘Brother, Luka Modric, you don’t know how proud I am of you! It’s all deserved, let’s celebrate with our family and all Croatians! Nothing more beautiful than being Croatian.’
The pair also left messages on each other’s shirts to celebrate the occasion and congratulate one another on a valiant effort throughout the tournament, before signing it off.
They will now both go their separate ways, with Modric set to join up with Real Madrid and Rakitic with Barcelona, where their rivalry at club level will continue.
Although Croatia lost the final, Modric was able to lift one trophy having been named the best player at the World Cup ahead of Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann respectively.
Teenage sensation, Kylian Mbappe picked up the best young player of the tournament.