Why Luka Modric deserves every accolade which came his way in 2018
Few decades ago, the chairman of NK Zadar was impressed with a skinny little boy kicking the ball around in the hotel lobby. That was the first significant moment of the love affair between the boy and football.
Since then, that skinny boy has dodged every bomb and minefield on his way to end the domination of two very special players.
The skinny boy is none other than Luka Modric.
Luka Modric bagged almost every individual award this year, which includes the Ballon d'Or, UEFA Player of the year and FIFA Best, among other significant individual awards. He ended the duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the individual awards, and he deserves every bit of it.
After a dismal start to the 2017-18 season by Real Madrid, Luka Modric and co slowly turned things around. Evidently, he played a pivotal role in Real Madrid's historic UEFA Champions League campaign which saw them becoming Europe's best for a 3rd consecutive time.
With Real Madrid, Luka Modric played an extremely crucial role with regards the amount of goals scored by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo.
With his partner in crime Toni Kroos, Luka Modric was the architect behind Los Blancos' success. Whenever he was on the ball, Real Madrid looked more dominant and effective, this sums up Modric's impact over the team.
It is quite obvious the FIFA World Cup had the most influence over the individual awards this year.
And why not?
It is the biggest sporting event in the world, and Luka Modric surely knew how to make it his stage.
Going into the FIFA World Cup, Croatia were not hot favorites, but they managed to push their limits as they reached the grand finale. Luka Modric played a pivotal role, which was hailed by his teammates, fans, and critics alike, and had the biggest impact in Croatia's sensational run in the World Cup.
Technique is not being able to juggle a ball 1000 times. Anyone can do that by practicing. Then you can work in the circus. Technique is passing the ball with one touch, with the right speed, at the right foot of your team mate. - Johan Cruyff
Although Croatia failed to win the World Cup, he popped up at the biggest moments to weave an inspirational story with his nation. Luka Modric covered every blade of grass while running riot against opponents, with his magnificent touch and spectacular vision.
Luka Modric is certainly not in the same bracket as the legendary Johan Cruyff, but he played simple football, which was quite effective, and led Croatia to unprecedented heights. He knew exactly when to hold the ball, when to run past defenders, and when to release the ball to his fellow teammates.
Moreover, the Croat proved himself to be extremely unique and versatile. Despite being instrumental with his vision, Modric dropped deep in times of need, helping out his fellow warriors in defense.
Luka Modric's impact was second to none at the World Cup, which resulted in him winning the Golden Ball award ahead of Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe, and other stars.
Modric may not be as athletic, pacy, and agile as other footballers, but the Croatian magician turned out to be unique in his own way.
His exquisite touch, movement, and vision are world class, and propelled him to be the hero of his nation and club. He surpassed all expectations, and cemented his legacy as the best midfielder in recent years.
While the staggering statistics and figures show the impact of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, they fail to show the impact of a midfielder who quietly pulled the strings. Luka was certainly the biggest big game performer of the year, as he proved with his sensational performances repeatedly.
When Luka Modric came into Real Madrid, he was ridiculed and voted as the worst transfer in LaLiga that year. But that setback and criticism was not enough to stop the skinny boy who evaded bombs and endured the worst of times in his childhood.
Now, he has written his name in an era dominated by two of the greatest players of all time.
Despite few naysayers pondering over whether he deserved the award or not, Luka Modric won't be forgotten just like the great midfielders of previous generations. He has proven himself to be an inspiration with his rise, both on and off the pitch, etching his name forever in the history books.