Croatia may have finished as runners-up in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but you'd never know it looking at the fans. The team's second-place finish tops its third-place run in 1998, and it seemed like the entire country was there to greet Luka Modric and company upon Vatreni's return from Moscow.
One of those fans was a young man with down syndrome that Modric was told was a fan that wanted a high-five from his favorite player. Modric responded by pulling the young man onstage, keeping his arm around him throughout the ceremony.
Golden Ball winner Luka Modric was told that a boy with down syndrome wanted to high-five him since he was his favorite player.— Yoni (@OriginalYoni) July 17, 2018
Instead, Modric brought the boy on stage with the whole team and had his arm around him the entire ceremony.
Luka Modric is the hero we need. pic.twitter.com/NDNlRBTkTD
Modric was incredibly emotional after the team's loss, and that was apparent upon receiving the tournament's Golden Ball in the ceremony after the match.
However, don't worry about the Real Madrid star. He seems to be doing better now.
Croatia's population stands at about 4.17 million people. Over 500,000 people -- or approximately 12 percent of the population, turned out to welcome the team back to Zagreb.
It took over six hours for the team to get through the crowd, but you have to think it was worth it.
O_O— Jason Pudličica Evangelho (@killyourfm) July 16, 2018
It took Croatia's football team SIX HOURS to travel about 17 miles from the Zagreb airport to the main square. Why? 550,000 fans were waiting for them along the streets. (Croatia's entire population is 4.3 million)
It's probably a bit easier than the six hours of soccer the team played in the knockout stage, at least.
And the party was absolutely banging.
The scenes certainly eased the pains of defeat for a few Croatian players.
Losing initially is awful, and no one wants to go through it. With that being said, second place isn't so bad. At least in Croatia, it's hard to imagine how much bigger the party would have been if they would have been champions.