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Luka Modric: Rising from the ruins of a war-zone to becoming the 'UEFA Player of the Season'

Yash Sharma
Published 04 Sep 2018, 15:16 IST
04 Sep 2018, 15:16 IST

Real Madrid CF v CD Leganes - La Liga
Luka Modric showcasing his hard-earned achievements in front of the Bernabeu crowd.

Football has seen numerous names being regarded as the best midfielder of their time. The greatest midfielders of the past generations have been Paul Scholes, Zinedine Zidane, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo.

However, there's a less appreciated midfielder who has been acting as an engine for one of the most successful football club of all time, Real Madrid, who goes by the name of Luka Modric. The midfield veteran of this current generation has had a beautiful fairytale-like story behind his ornamented career, which saw a kid from war-zone discovering his way up to the top.

Struggles during his brutal childhood

Born in Zadar, Modric's infancy coexisted with the Croatian War of Independence. These were some of the most heart-wrenching episodes of his life. Luka used to spend most of the time with his grandfather, as his parents had to labor in a nearby crochet factory in order to fulfil the basic needs of their family.

One day, his grandfather was walking his cattle in a nearby street which happened to be abandoned. Along with his few fellow Croats, Modric Sr. was shot by a group of Serbian thugs.

When the news of his grandfather's assassination broke, little Luka was left traumatized with grief who was very close to his grandfather. Following this harsh event, Modric's family had no other option but to shift in a refugee camp assembled in an abandoned hotel in Zandar.

Growing up through the inevitable pain

Modric had a passion for toying with the football ever since his childhood days. Where gunfires, bombing, and the threat to life became a normality in his surroundings, the little magician was in the making as he used to run around the camp with a football in his feet, enhancing his skills and techniques.

"The war made me stronger, it was a very hard time for me and my family, I don't want to drag that with me forever, but I don't want to forget about it either."

The 10-year-old boy who looked weak and delicate was rejected in his first trial with Hajduk Split as the coach believed that Modric wouldn't be able to survive in the harsh world of football due to his fragility. However, later he was provided with another shot when he was put up in a trial with Dinamo Zagreb where he proved that he'd be able to pull through in the Croatian league.

A star in the making

After having spent five years with Zagreb, which included a couple of loan spells with Zrinjski Mostar and Inter Zapresic, Modric finally made a move to the English Premier League as Tottenham Hotspur offered a whopping 16.5 million euros for the juvenile, which couldn't be turned down by Zagreb.


Tottenham got four brilliant seasons out of Modric and eventually sold him for a fee somewhere in the region of 30 million euros to Real Madrid.

From being rejected due to his fragile appearance to being an important organ of Spur's squad in the world's most physical league, the Croatian announced his arrival in the football hall of fame.

Splendid tenure with Real Madrid

Labeled as the 'worst transfer of 2012' by Marca's voting poll, the attacking midfielder had a slow start to his life in Spain. Gradually, he became one of the most integral parts of Jose Mourinho's starting eleven and has been functioning in Los Blancos' midfield ever since.

While Cristiano Ronaldo has been believed to be the major reason behind Real Madrid's European domination lately, it can't be denied that the Croatian midfielder has been their 'un-caped hero' over the years.

Real Madrid's arch-rivals FC Barcelona have always admired Luka Modric and insisted that if they had to sign a player from Los Vikingos, it would be none other than Luka Modric himself.

A national hero

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final
Croatian captain Luka Modric with his World Cup Golden-Ball

It would always be recalled how a country who got its independence in 1995 forced their way into the FIFA World Cup 2018 final beating some of the top powerhouses in International football.

The Croatian team led by Luka Modric wasn't able to win the World Cup, however, they were successful in being an inspiration for all the footballing nations in the world.

Modric was named the Golden-ball winner of the tournament even at the age of 32-years-old.

Deservingly decorated career

Luka Modric has been successful in decorating his career with plenty of collective as well as individual trophies.

The three times Croatian league champion had five titles to his name before moving to Spurs in 2008. During his spell in Croatia, Modric won three league titles and two Croatian cups with Zagreb. However, the midfielder wasn't able to win any collective title with Tottenham Hotspur.

His arrival in the Spanish capital ornamented his personal as well as club's trophy cabinet as he won 14 titles with the Spanish giants including four UCLs and one LaLiga.

Recently, Modric was chosen as the UEFA player of the year leaving behind big names such as Ronaldo, Messi, Griezmann, Mbappe and Mohamed Salah.


Luka Modric has been the best midfielder over the past years and shows no signs of declination despite turning 32-years-old recently.

The attacking midfielder plays with the same enthusiasm and has carried his exceptional form over the years. According to me, Modric is the engine which runs Real Madrid's attacking build-up.

Considering with world cup performances and UEFA player of the year award, it might be possible that Modric becomes the Ballon D'or 2018 finally putting a period to the Ronaldo-Messi era.

In the world of Zidane's and Pirlo's, came a little magician who made sure that there won't be another Luka Modric. The world would love to enjoy the artistic career while it lasts.

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 17:35 IST
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