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I'm a changed man

Goran Granic blames himself for the fact that his soccer team is having a miserable season. After all, it was No. 1 in Croatia's Champions League last year, and now it's languishing in fifth place - in a circuit with far less prestige. And all because of the change that Granic admits has come over him. And that would be what, exactly? No, not substance abuse or partying all night. Instead, he has found religion. Since developing a devotion to God, the defenseman confesses he has "started to avoid committing fouls" for which he used to be notorious. "I probably could have saved some key goals [by players for other teams] if I had," he told the Slobodna Dalmacija newspaper in Split, where his team is based. But "God created [soccer] for fun and relaxation. He would not like players to commit harsh fouls." Naturally, his teammates and fans are fully supportive of his new direction in life , right? Are you kidding? Granic (not to be confused with Croatia's deputy prime minister of the same name) has been hearing what reports call "a storm of criticism" for his kinder, gentler style of play. No word on whether "storm of criticism" means he's being booed.


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