World Cup 2018: Former refugees at the world's grandest stage
While every individual faces his or her own set of challenges over the course of a lifetime, few of the obstacles are more difficult than those faced by refugees.
As on one hand, we get closer to the spectacle that is the FIFA World Cup 2018, on the other hand, the refugee crisis around the world continues to worsen. It is therefore apt to look at the stories of some of the sportsmen who faced and overcame difficulties as refugees in the past and will soon be entertaining us in Russia on the grandest stage of them all.
These stories serve as inspiration that no obstacle is too big to overcome for the strong willed.
#5 Luka Modric
Born in 1985, Modric spent his early years in a village in the Velebit mountain range of Croatia. In Croatia’s independence war that broke out in 1990, his grandfather was killed by Serbian forces. Their house was burned and the family fled to the coastal town of Zadar where they lived in a hotel which was routinely targeted with grenades.
During the nine years the family stayed in hotels, the parking lot was Modric’s football pitch. He started playing with NK Zadar. Another hurdle came up when he was rejected by his favourite club for being too ‘small and fragile’. Though disappointed, he managed to continue training and went on to sign for their rivals Dinamo Zagreb.
After impressive stints in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovinia, Modric moved to Tottenham Hotspur, where he showed his potential to the world. A high profile move to Real Madrid followed after four seasons at Spurs.
He plays a pivotal role in the side and has helped the club to three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles. At the national level, Modric is the third most capped player for Croatia, with 106 appearances under his belt. He was part of the World Cup squads in 2006 and 2014 and will be leading Croatia’s charge in 2018.