SINGAPORE - They are best friends, separated thousands of kilometres by work. And this week's International Champions Cup in Singapore gave Inter Milan midfielder Ivan Perisic and Home United striker Stipe Plazibat the perfect chance to catch up.
The Croatian duo, who first met at the Hajduk Split's youth academy when they were both just eight years old, spent some precious time together at Gardens by the Bay on Monday.
"We met only for an hour, visited the gardens and went for coffee," said Plazibat on what he did when he met Perisic, who has recently been linked with a transfer to English giants Manchester United .
"I had an S-League match (against Warriors FC on Tuesday) so I couldn't walk around for too long, and he has obligations too.
"It's always nice to see a friend whom you see only one to two times in a year."
While they might be heavily occupied with their footballing careers, Plazibat and Perisic have been keeping in contact through WhatsApp a few times in a month.
Besides Croatia, the two Split natives have also met up at other places before. Last November, Plazibat was invited by Perisic to an entertaining Milan derby, and saw his friend score a late equaliser against AC Milan to salvage a 2-2 draw at the San Siro Stadium.
Each time they hung out together, "football is the last thing" that they talk about, according to Plazibat.
The 27-year-old added: "When we talk, we just want to take our minds off football. We just have normal talks between friends.
"Of course, we also ask about each other's family. We know each other from eight years old, so we know each other's family members."
Not surprisingly, Plazibat will be cheering for 28-year-old Perisic at the National Stadium when Inter face Bayern tonight and Chelsea on Saturday.
"I was once his captain at the Hajduk Split's youth academy," he said. "So, it's a very big pleasure to see one of my friends play against top teams. I'm glad to see to him perform on this high level."
And while Plazibat will not be donning Inter's black-and-blue jersey to cheer for Perisic, he said: "I don't normally support Inter Milan. But when (Perisic) is playing, I support Inter Milan. That's the biggest way I show my support."