One testimony of one football player against one football boss made all the news today in Croatia.
And while almost all Croatian media outlets are writing (and showing clips) of the testimony of Luka Modrić at the Mamić et al. trial, which is taking place in Osijek, not many of them have bothered explaining what exactly changed since his original statements to the USKOK investigators, given on August 30th, 2015 in Zagreb.
Most of the reactions are aimed at the fact that he seems to have withdrawn a lot of what he said way-back-then (not even two years ago!), and that most of the really important questions received the infamous “I do not recall” answer in response. Good thing we don’t have the Fifth Amendment in Croatia because if we did, it would’ve certainly been mentioned today at Osijek’s court. A lot of passionate emphasis by Croatian reporters is also given to his “I do not recall” answer to the question of when he made his debut in the Croatia squad, which also rang disrespectful to many of the true fans of the Croatian national team. And, of course, there are memes. So many memes…
Not much has been written about what exactly has changed in Luka’s testimony, so we’ve looked into what he said in 2015, and compared that with what he’s said today:
The key moment of contention, and one of the major items in the indictment against Mamić and his brother (and others) is that the State claims that they have damaged Dinamo in the amount of over 100 million kuna, and much of that amount is linked to Luka Modrić’s sale to Tottenham in April 2008. In his 2015 statement to the investigators, Modrić claimed that the entire transfer fee (21 million euros) was supposed to go to the club, Dinamo, and he was supposed to get none of that. He even recalled that he was happy to sign for contract with Dinamo to be terminated, and in that contract termination, it was stated that he claimed no further money from Dinamo (and that he fully trusted Mamić with all of the paperwork and that he had signed that without even reading it carefully). Then he recalled that Mamić promised him that he would get a portion of the transfer fee, but that were all verbal promises, and no contracts were signed, and nothing existed at that point which would indicate that he should be getting some of that money. After several conversations, Mamić agreed that Modrić would be getting half (!) of the transfer fee, but he would only get to keep a smaller portion of it and would have to give most of it back to the Mamić family. So, after his transfer to Tottenham, when he was already playing for the Spurs (in the second half of 2008) he signed an annex to one of his contracts with Dinamo, and that annex stated clearly that he had the right to 50% of any transfer fee when leaving Dinamo. That annex was dated to have been signed in 2004, although Modrić admitted to the USKOK investigators that it was signed in late 2008. He then signed another contract, a so-called “citizen’s contract” with Mamić, which committed him to giving Mamić most of that money he received from Dinamo, which he did, in cash, as Zdravko Mamić requested it to be done that way, and not through bank transfers.
That was the 2015 story, and some of the indictment is based on that.
Today’s court statement tells a somewhat different tale, that the all of the annexes he had to his Dinamo contracts were signed concurrently with the contracts themselves, he has no idea why it was dated as it was, he has no idea whatsoever what the contested annex stated, he has no idea what exactly happened to the original 2004 annex. Today, Modric also stated that the questionable annex was signed in 2008, and dated to 2004, because he wanted the money to go to a Croatian bank, and not some foreign bank. He confirmed today that he took the money from the bank and gave it to the Mamić brothers in cash (and therefore many Croatians have resorted to nick-naming Modrić “The ATM machine”, which is something you’ll see on many of the memes), as if that was legal and perfectly alright. He also does not seem to remember when exactly he signed the “citizen’s contract” with Mamić, which he said happened when he was a kid and first came to Dinamo, and he does not remember what Zdravko Mamić’s official position in Dinamo was at the time.
There it is. Now you know why we should all feel sorry for one of the best midfielders in the world, with all of his problems with his memory. One almost wonders if he’ll be able to recognise Cristiano Ronaldo next time he sees him…