From 1991 to 1995, Croatia was ravaged by ruins of war as they fought for their freedom and more importantly their identity. The war was one of the bloodiest in history and was fought between Croatia who had declared their independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People’s Army who were against the secession. More than 20,000 casualties were reported from the bloodshed.
Most of the current Croatian squad grew up with adversities and the first thought they had in their mind when they went to bed as kids were whether they would wake up and live to see a new day. One of those kids was Luka Modric, who would go on to establish himself as one of the greatest midfielders in the history of the game.
Luka Modric, the captain of the Croats who after winning the 2018 Ballon D’Or awards can call himself one the finest players of the game today. But growing up, his life was nothing but filled with tragedies and horrors. Born and raised in the hamlet of Modrici, his grandfather and other six elderly relatives were executed by the Serbian army. His house was burnt down to the ground and he had to flee to nearby Zadar, where he lived as a refugee in Hotel Kolovare for seven years. His love for the game picked up when he was living in inhumane condition and he has become arguably the greatest footballer which the country has produced.
Modric’s passion for the game combined with his great technical skills and vision meant that it was only a matter of time before he reached the pinnacle of the game.
Wherever Modric has gone, he has dominated. He did so in the tough English league, where many doubted if such a diminutive figure would survive in such a rugged environment. Not only did he survive, he thrived. He was the key cog in Harry Redknapp’s unit, who were a brilliant team to watch.
This earned him a move to the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, where after a slow start, he has gone on to establish himself as the best playmaker in the world. There has been a lot of chopping and changing at Real, but Modric has been a constant figure in the heart of midfield where he has established a wonderful partnership with another brilliant midfield metronome, Toni Kroos.
At the age of 33 and on the back of a brilliant tournament with Croatia at the World Cup and some impressive showings with Real Madrid where they again won the Champions League, Modric’s skills and talents have finally been awarded with the recognition which they so richly deserved.
The man was a born winner and the Ballon d’Or only reasserts this very fact.