It had the adapted effect. Ivanisevic had been crestfallen, assertive – wrongly, as it transpired – that he was destined never to win his sport’s greatest prize. If one anchorman attempted to accession his alcohol with a catechism about Croatia’s 3-0 quarter-final win over Germany, he responded gloomily: “I cannot acclamation anybody now. I can alone annihilate myself.”

The action fabricated by Boban and Co did, though, restore his brand smile, and while Croatia absent almost to France, Ivanisevic fabricated abiding he was on duke at the Buy Fifa 17 Coins celebrated third-place win that followed.

“Goran came to the celebrations – we hugged and he thanked us,” Boban recalled. “It was a moment which was actual important for our country and it was a allegorical action of antic alliance and comradeship.”

Ivanisevic had been a able footballer himself, even training with his admired Hajduk Breach afore chief that he was added acceptable to coin a career in tennis. He was aswell a amorous adherent of Croatia’s apprentice civic team, and able-bodied accepted to associates of the squad.


The band with Boban was stronger still. Indeed, if the AC Milan fable brought down the blind on his career with a star-studded affidavit in Zagreb, it was Ivanisevic – a adept acquaintance – he chose to alter him in the game’s closing stages. The 2001 Wimbledon best appropriately denticulate with his aboriginal blow and wheeled away, twirling his Croatia shirt aloft his arch – a long-held dream able-bodied and absolutely realised.

Ivanisevic has aswell alternate the favour by administration a tennis cloister with Boban on several occasions, admitting with a few strings attached. “Goran and I are still actual acceptable friends, although abominably we accept not been able to acquisition the time to play tennis calm for a few years now,” explained the aloft footballer, who is kept active these canicule with his role as FIFA Deputy Secretary General.

“After finishing our corresponding careers we played a lot though, with the afterward conditions: a 30-0 alpha for me and Goran accepting one serve, amphitheatre accustomed forehand but alone backhand slice! I am currently 7-6 up, so I am not abiding I will play him afresh and accord him the adventitious to draw level!”

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