Luka Modrić is a Croatian footballer who plays as a midfielder for the Croatian national team and the Spanish football club ‘Real Madrid.’ Although he mostly plays as a central midfielder, he is also an exceptional attacking midfielder and defensive midfielder. Born in Zadar, Croatia, Luka had a troubled childhood, as he grew up during the peak of the Croatian War of Independence. Despite everything, Luka continued playing football during his childhood years. By his mid-teenage years, he grew into an exceptional footballer. In the early 2000s, he made a place in Croatian senior football, when he was named to the local club team of ‘Dinamo Zagreb.’ He debuted for ‘Dinamo’ in 2005, and in the next 3 years, he led his team to win three consecutive league titles. In 2008, he moved to the ‘Premier League’ team ‘Tottenham Hotspur.’ He joined ‘Real Madrid’ in 2012. He led ‘Real Madrid’ to win three consecutive ‘Champions League’ titles, starting in 2015. He was awarded with the ‘La Liga ‘Best Midfielder’ award in 2016. He has also won prestigious awards such as ‘The Best FIFA Men’s Player’ and the ‘Ballon d’Or’. He led his national team to the finals of the 2018 ‘World Cup’ and was named the ‘Best Player of the Tournament.’
Childhood & Early Life
Luka Modrić was born on September 9, 1985, in Zadar, Croatia, to Radojka Dopuđ and Stipe Modrić. His mother worked as a textile worker, and his father was an aeromechanic. The family’s financial conditions were below average, but they survived somehow.
His parents were refugees who had fled from Serbian aggressors during the dreadful Bosnian War. He grew up amidst the Croatian War of Independence, which had taken its toll on his family’s financial situation.
Due to the poor financial conditions of his parents, he spent most of his childhood at his grandparents’ house. He worked as a goat-shepherd at the age of 5. His grandfather was later executed by Serbian rebels. Their home was burned down, and as a result, the family was forced to flee the area.
During those years of turmoil, his father joined the Croatian army. Bombs became the norm in the city of Zadar, where the family had shifted to. During that time, football was the best escape for the city’s youth, and Luka was not unaffected by it.
Luka had been fascinated by football ever since he was a kid. He was short and thin for a kid his age, but he had a natural knack for playing football.
He was consistently considered weak. Even during the youth trial at the ‘Hajduk Split,’ he was rejected. However, his skills did not go unnoticed for a long time. He worked hard to a point that he could no longer be ignored anymore.
He was signed by the team ‘Dinamo Zagreb,’ as he showed steady growth in his height and frame. He eventually signed a 10-year contract.
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He was 16 when he was signed by ‘Dinamo Zagreb’ in 2002. He was selected after he performed well for his hometown club ‘NK Zadar’s youth team. However, he was still considered too young to play in the senior club team. Thus, he was loaned to ‘Zrinjski Mostar’ in 2003 and to ‘Inter Zaprešić’ in 2004.
Luka scored 12 goals in the 40 matches he played for the teams he was loaned to. It was not an exceptional goal-scoring record, but as a midfielder, it was an above-average performance. Hence, he was all set to make his debut for Dinamo’ in 2005.
During his first regular season as a senior player for ‘Dinamo,’ he scored 7 goals in 31 matches and helped his team win the league. He was the main provider for the star striker Eduardo, and their duo scored many goals, registering many wins as a result. This way, Luka helped his team secure two more league championships in the next two seasons.
In his second season with ‘Dinamo,’ he was honored with the ‘Prva HNL Player of the Year Award.’ In the four seasons that he played for ‘Dinamo,’ he scored 31 goals and 29 assists. He also led his team to win the 2007 ‘Croatian Cup.’ His highly successful tenure with ‘Dinamo’ came to an end in 2008.
He was signed by the ‘English Premier League’ team ‘Tottenham Hotspur’ in 2008. The deal was finalized for a record fee of 16.5 million UK pounds. In his four seasons that he played for ‘Tottenham,’ he scored 13 goals in 127 appearances. He also led his team to their first ‘UEFA Champions League’ appearance in the past 50 years, in the 2010–2011 season, where the team ended up reaching the quarter-finals.
In 2012, Luka moved to one of the best football clubs in the world, ‘Real Madrid.’ It turned out to be the most successful part of his career. His impeccable performance had him selected for the ‘Squad of the Season’ by the end of the 2013–2014 ‘Champions League.’
He also played a massive role in his team winning three consecutive ‘Champions League’ titles in the 2015–2016, the 2016–2017, and the 2017–2018 seasons. He was also named as part of the ‘Squad of the Season’ in all three seasons.
He won the ‘La Liga Award’ for the ‘Best Midfielder’ in 2016 and the ‘UEFA Club Award’ for the ‘Best Midfielder’ in both 2017 and 2018. He also became the first Croatian footballer to be named to the ‘FIFA World XI’ teams in 2016 and 2018. He was also named to the ‘UEFA Team of the Year’ in the same years.
In 2018, he became the first Croatian player to win the ‘UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.’ He has also received a ‘Ballon d’Or’ award.
He has played for the Croatian national football team since 2006. In the 122 games that he has played for his national team, he has scored 14 goals. He led his national team to the finals of the 2018 ‘FIFA World Cup’ and received the ‘Golden Ball Award’ that is given to the best player of the tournament.
Family & Personal Life
Luka Modrić dated Vanja Bosnić for 4 years, before getting married to her in May 2010. The couple has three children: a son named Ivano and two daughters named Ema and Sofia.
Luka has maintained a low profile outside his professional life.
He witnessed the notorious Croatian football corruption scam of 2018. Former ‘Dinamo’ executive Zdravko Mamić was accused of annexing most of Luka’s transfer fee, saying that he had given financial support to Luka in the beginning of his career. Luka had then allegedly tried to save Zdravko, for which he received a lot of criticism from Croatian football fans.