The president of the Croatian federation says the injury suffered by his country's star playmaker Luka Modric has left him wondering whether Croatia's top stars are being deliberately targeted for rough treatment in the Premier League.
Vlatko Markovic spoke out after Modric suffered a broken leg playing for Tottenham against Birmingham at the weekend which will sideline him for around two months, with Croatia set to face England in a crucial World Cup qualifier at Wembley on September 9.
It follows on from an even more severe injury suffered by Arsenal striker Eduardo - also against Birmingham - in February 2008 which meant he was unavailable when the sides met in the reverse fixture in Zagreb last September.
Markovic told The Sun: ''First Eduardo, now Luka Modric. This is horrible. I can only ask myself if it was really an accident.
''I'm close to thinking it was done to us deliberately before the England match. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what happened to Luka. He is irreplaceable.''