Carlos Olmo (Terrasa, 1996) belongs to Lokomotiva Zagreb, a Croatian first division team, and this year he played on loan for Karlovac 1919, also from Croatia. He is the older brother of Dani Olmo, with whom he has a fantastic relationship. He attends AS to share his experience and to analyze the meeting on Monday.
How does it get to Croatia?
Because my brother Dani had been playing for Dinamo Zagreb for a few years. They knew me, I take the step and go to the subsidiary.
How was the adaptation to Croatia?
Zagreb has all the advantages of a capital but without being overcrowded. For me it is ideal for a footballer. It is quiet, good atmosphere with people. The difficult thing was the language, but they all speak English there.
What is the biggest difference between Spanish football and Croatian?
If I have to say a difference, I would say the physical. There the preseason is very tough and football is tough, with very great players, very hard-working. In Spain too, obviously, but in Spain they play more technical. Although in Croatia soccer is also played very well.
Do you plan to stay in Croatia?
Yes. I like it, I have my life there. I’m happy. I’m getting the title of coach, sports coach, I’m studying English and Croatian… And I’m building a career as a footballer there.
You live in Croatia and now your brother plays against them for Spain. How are these days?
It is a mixture of feelings. I am Spanish, ahead of everything is my selection. And my brother plays there. That pulls. But Croatia for Dani and me is our second home. He has spent six years there and I have been three. I want Croatia to always win … except against Spain. It is the only game I want him to lose.
What does Dani Olmo mean for Croats and especially in Zagreb?
My brother is an idol in Croatia. In Zagreb it’s crazy. People love him not only for his football, but also for his character and personality. He speaks perfect Croatian, you can’t even tell the accent.
It will be an advantage on the field for Spain …
He speaks it so well that if they speak any strategy in Croatian, my brother will understand. He also knows almost the entire team, having played with them at Dinamo or against them.
Who is the family with?
We always go with Spain and with my brother. We do not doubt that.
How did you experience the moments when Croatia wanted to nationalize Dani?
He has always been clear that he wanted to play for Spain, it was always his dream. Being offered to play for Croatia was incredible, the proposal was a source of pride for him and the whole family. It is a small country but they are runners-up in the world. But Dani was clear: he wants to play for Spain.
How did Dani improve in Croatia?
With the technical and tactical level that he brought from Barcelona, the change to Croatia was very good for him. It gave him that extra he needed to grow in his career.
Have you talked to Dani? How is it going?
Very excited. He knows many of the national team, he wants the best for Croatia. But when he faces you, it stays in the locker room, friends don’t exist on the pitch. Just win.
Let’s look at Croatia… How has Croatia changed since the World Cup?
It has very high-level players. There is no favorite for this match. I had the privilege of sharing a dressing room with Gvardiol, who seems to me to be one of Croatia’s talents, I met Livakovic and Petkovic… They haven’t lost their level since the World Cup. They still have Modric, Perisic, Kovacic, Brozovic… It is impossible to give a favorite. They are the runners-up in the world.
Croatia has very good young people. Is the base working well?
When I arrived in Croatia I realized that there are many young people who come out of Dinamo with a lot of talent. It is not an opinion, it is a statistic. If so many players come out, it is because there is a good job behind it.
Will you play Spain face to face?
Croatia is not going to propose a match to Spain in which they withdraw and go against it. It will be a very beautiful game, two incredible teams playing one-on-one.
Do you dare with a forecast?
1-0 for Spain with a goal from Dani Olmo! (laughs)