If I wasn't a footballer I would be a …
They are rich, famous and living the dream. But if they hadn’t quite made the grade as footballers, what would the likes of Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and Mario Mandžukić be doing now?
In Croatia, after leaving elementary school at 14, you go to a vocational high school. Elvir Islamović investigates the paths some of the Croatian UEFA EURO 2016 squad were treading before the bright lights of football lured them away and wonders what might have been.
Luka Modrić: Waiter/bar owner
The man who specialises in putting chances on a plate for team-mates went to hospitality school so maybe he would be working as a waiter on the Dalmatian coast or running a bar by the beach. Vedran Ćorluka, Lovre Kalinić and Duje Čop had a similar schooling so they might have worked for him. “Thank God I started to play football,” says Modrić.
Mario Mandžukić: Potter
Don’t get too excited, Stoke fans. The Juventus forward studied ceramics simply because it was close to home. If he was not a football star, he could well be making jugs and tiles in his native region of Slavonia.
Ivan Rakitić: Builder
It seems a bit incongruous given his small frame and flowing blond hair, but Swiss-born Rakitić studied building construction.
Darijo Srna: Electrician
The captain could be crossing wires rather than balls. He was a student at an electro-technical school in his home city of Metkovic.
Šime Vrsaljko: Trucker
The fork in the road for the defender came as a teenager. One way was a path towards becoming a truck driver (he went to a technical-transport school); he chose the other, to be a footballer. With Vrsaljko now at Sassuolo and linked with moves to Napoli and Atlético Madrid, it appears a wise choice.
Ante Čačić: Businessman
The coach has already done it! In the 1980s, before embarking on a coaching career, he ran a successful electronic repairs business in the centre of Zagreb, fixing TVs and radios.
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