Modrić playing for Real Madrid in 2013
|Full name||Luka Modrić|
|Date of birth||9 September 1985|
|Place of birth||Zadar, Croatia|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Current club||Real Madrid|
|2003–2004||→ Zrinjski (loan)||22||(8)|
|2004–2005||→ Inter Zaprešić (loan)||18||(4)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:03, 8 May 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈluːka ˈmoːdrit͡ɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian footballer who plays for Real Madrid and the Croatia national football team. Modrić plays mainly as a central midfielder, but can also play as an attacking midfielder and winger. After showing promise in hometown club Zadar's youth team, he was signed by Dinamo Zagreb as a teenager in 2002. His professional career began with loan spells at Zrinjski Mostar and Inter Zaprešić.
While he was playing for GNK Dinamo Zagreb, they won three consecutive league titles and several domestic cups, with Modrić named Prva HNL "Player of the Year" in 2007. In 2008, he moved to Tottenham Hotspur in England's Premier League, before moving to Real Madrid in the summer of 2012. Modrić has played as a Croatian international since 2006, including participation at 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008 and 2012.
Club career 
Early years 
Luka Modrić was born in Zadar, Croatia, as the oldest child of aeromechanic Stipe Modrić, and his wife Radojka. He grew up in the small village of Zaton near Obrovac, situated in karst landscape on the slopes of the mountain Velebit. In his childhood, Modric used to go visit his grandparents in the village in vicinity – Modrići, from which his paternal family originates and where his grandfather Luka lived, after whom he is named. He inherited the love for football from his father, and as a joyful young boy he would travel several kilometers just to find someone with whom he could play football. In 1991, when the Croatian War of Independence escalated, his family was forced to flee the area when was 6 years old. His father joined the Croatian army, but he lost his grandfather. Luka in the time of aggression, and as refugees, went to live in a hotel "Kolovare" (by the end of war to hotel "Iž") in Zadar. Modric noted that mostly he wasn't aware of the war because there were many children he befriended, and their parents did not let it affect their childhood. It was in these difficult circumstances that Modrić began playing football. He simultaneously entered the primary school, and with the little money the family had that was earned by his father was enrolled in the local sporting academy. Supported by the family, managed to participate in few representative camps, trained in Zadar, and after displaying some talent, Luka signed with Dinamo Zagreb as a 16-year old in 2002.
After a season with Dinamo Zagreb's youth side, he was loaned out in 2003 to Zrinjski Mostar in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During this spell, he established his versatile style of play and became the Bosnian and Herzegovinian League Player of the Year while still only 18 years old. He later claimed that "someone who can play in the Bosnian league can play anywhere", referring to its physical nature. The following year, he was again loaned out, this time to Inter Zaprešić in his home country. He spent one season with them, helping the team to achieve 2nd position in the Croatian first league, and a place in UEFA Cup (now Europa League) preliminary round, as well as being awarded the Croatian Football Hope of the Year award in 2004. He returned to Dinamo Zagreb in 2005.
Dinamo Zagreb 
In 2005, Modrić signed his first long-term contract with Dinamo, for ten years. After a goalless first season, he managed to secure a place in Dinamo's first team, contributing 7 goals in 31 matches to help win the league. During this time, Modrić rapidly established his role as playmaker or designated left winger in the team's 4–2–3–1 formation.
In the 2006–07 season, Dinamo again won the league with Modrić making a similar contribution, acknowledged by the Prva HNL Player of the Year award. The following season, he led Dinamo's attempt to qualify for the UEFA Cup. In the final play-off stage, Modrić converted a penalty in the away fixture against AFC Ajax in a game that ended 1–1 after regular time. Dinamo then went on to win the game 3–2 in extra time after a brace from teammate Mario Mandžukić secured their win on away goals. However, Dinamo Zagreb still failed to advance beyond the group stage. At his last home game with the club at Maksimir Stadium, Modrić was given a standing ovation and fans held up supportive banners. He finished his impressive six-year tenure at Dinamo with a tally of 31 goals and 29 assists in four seasons, contributing most notably in the 2007–08 season when Dinamo became champions by a 28-point margin and won the Croatian Cup in the same year.
Tottenham Hotspur 
2008–09 season 
Modrić agreed transfer terms with Tottenham Hotspur on 26 April 2008. He was the first of many summer signings for coach Juande Ramos and was also the Premier League's first summer transfer. After signing a six-year contract from summer 2008, Tottenham confirmed that the total fee paid was £16.5 million, equalling the club's record fee set by Darren Bent's move in 2007. Modrić made his debut for Tottenham on 28 July 2008 in a pre-season friendly against Norwich City. He played 45 minutes at Carrow Road during the 5–1 victory. His competitive debut was on 16 August in the 2–1 defeat by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in Spurs' first match of the 2008–09 Premier League season.
Initially, Spurs used him as a deep-lying playmaker in central midfield, usually alongside Jermaine Jenas, to utilise his passing range, vision, and creativity to optimum effect. Then-manager Juande Ramos, however, deployed him in an extremely deep defensive midfield role, which his slight frame was not physically suited to. Before joining Tottenham, his greatest success had come in a more advanced, attacking left-sided role; playing him out of position limited his influence. Modrić also suffered from a niggling knee injury early in his Spurs career and he had to endure being labelled as a "light-weight" by sections of the media. This coincided with his poor form, knocking his confidence and making him even less effective, leading to concerns both for himself and Croatia manager Slaven Bilić.
With the appointment of manager Harry Redknapp, Modrić was given a more familiar advanced attacking role as a central or left-sided midfielder, which had been a problem position for Tottenham in the past. In the first few months of the 2008–09 season until the 2009 January transfer window, Modrić assumed a far more advanced role as a second striker behind one of Tottenham's two recognised first-team strikers, Roman Pavlyuchenko or Darren Bent. This allowed Modrić to have a far more attacking influence on the team and also utilise his footballing brain more productively, as in the thrilling 4–4 draw with arch-rivals Arsenal on 26 October 2008. Modrić's impact in this position was well demonstrated with Tottenham's fourth and equalising goal when he collected the ball on his chest from Tom Huddlestone, and after a few controlled touches, unleashed a long-range half-volley which, courtesy of a deflection, hit the post and set up Aaron Lennon for a tap-in. Since this performance, his form improved considerably for Spurs, coinciding with his club's vastly improved form in the league. Redknapp recognised Modrić's value to his side, setting out plans to shape his new team around the Croatian playmaker.
During the January 2009 transfer window, Tottenham re-signed strikers Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane, allowing Modrić to return to midfield while retaining his advanced attacking role as a roaming left-sided midfielder. Spurs' other major signing, tough-tackling Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios, bolstered Spurs' central midfield and gave Modrić more freedom in attack, while Palacios operated as a more defensive midfielder. Using him in his former position from Dinamo Zagreb days made him even more effective with inspirational performances against Hull City, Stoke City and most notably, a match-winning performance against Chelsea.
Modrić scored his first Tottenham goal in a 2–2 draw against Spartak Moscow during the UEFA Cup group stages on 18 December 2008. He scored his first Premier League goal against Newcastle United in Spurs' next match, three days later.
2009–10 season 
Ahead of the 2009–10 season, ex-Spurs captain Jamie Redknapp said of Modrić, "[He's] a hell of a player and a manager’s dream, so I am told. He trains like a demon and never complains, will work with and without the ball on the field and can beat a defender with a trick or with a pass. He could get into any team in the top four and he’ll be even better this season."
On 29 August 2009, during Tottenham's 2–1 win over Birmingham City, Modrić was taken off injured with a suspected calf injury. The following day, it was confirmed that Modrić had broken his leg, sustaining a fracture to his right fibula and was expected to be out for six weeks. On 31 October 2009, however, Spurs' manager Harry Redknapp announced a delay to Modrić's return. Modrić finally returned to training after numerous delays on 8 December in a match against Grays Athletic. He made his first start in the Premier League for four months in the London derby against West Ham United, which Spurs won 2–0, with Modrić making a telling contribution by scoring with the leg he broke in the 11th minute.
On 30 May 2010, Modrić was awarded with a new six-year contract that runs until 2016. Modrić said after the deal, "Tottenham Hotspur gave me my chance in the Premier League and I want to go on to achieve great success here with them. Yes, there have been enquiries from other big clubs, but I have no interest in going anywhere. Last season's Top 4 finish was an indication of where we are as a Club and I feel I can continue to improve and go on to achieve everything I want to at Spurs".
2010–11 season 
On 11 September 2010, Modrić scored his first goal of the 2010–11 season with a 27th minute strike which put Tottenham 1–0 up away at West Bromwich Albion. The match finished in a 1–1 draw after Chris Brunt equalised. During the match, Modrić sustained an injury which was feared to be a repeat of the broken leg injury he sustained in the 2009–10 season. Scans later revealed there to be no damage, however. On 28 November, in a home match against Liverpool, Modrić scored a solitary goal, but it was later credited as an autogoal goal by Liverpool defender. He also scored in Tottenham's 3–2 victory over Stoke City on 9 April 2011, as well as converting a penalty at Anfield on 15 May 2011 to complete a 2–0 victory over Liverpool. Modrić played 32 Premier League games in the 2010–11 season, scoring three goals and recording two assists, as well as making the highest average number of passes per game for Spurs, with 62.5, at an accuracy rate of 87.4%.
At the end of the season, Modrić was voted the Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Player of the Year. The manager of Manchester United, Alex Ferguson, revealed he would have chosen Modrić as his Player of the Year for that season.
2011–12 season 
In the summer of 2011, Modrić was heavily pursued by cross-town rivals Chelsea. Chelsea initially made a bid of £22 million followed by a bid of £27 million, both of which were rejected. Tottenham President Daniel Levy stated that Tottenham would not sell Modrić at any price. After the failed bids, Modrić announced that he would welcome a move across London and that he had a "gentleman's agreement" with Daniel Levy that the club would entertain offers from a "big club." Speculation continued throughout the summer transfer window, eventually culminating in Modrić refusing to play in Tottenham's opening match against Manchester United, a 3–0 loss, stating that his "head was not in the right place" as he continued to force a move to Chelsea. On the final day of the transfer deadline, Chelsea made an offer of £40 million, which was again rejected by Daniel Levy. After failing to secure a transfer, team manager Harry Redknapp told Luka Modrić to focus on his playing and he has been named as a starter. On 18 September, he scored his first goal of the season for Tottenham with a wonder shot from 25 yards in a 4–0 home win against Liverpool. On 31 January 2012, Modrić with a crossfield pass assisted for the first goal, and scored the second from 20 yards in a 3–1 win against Wigan, to be for the third time included in "Team of the Week" in the season. Luka Modrić scored his last goal for Tottenham on 2 May, in a 1–4 away win against Bolton, when from 25 yards with a powerful volley smacked the ball into the top corner.
Real Madrid 
2012–13 season 
On 27 August 2012, Real Madrid announced that they had agreed a deal with Tottenham for a fee in the region of £33 million. Modrić signed a five-year contract with the Spanish club. Two days later, he made his Real Madrid debut against FC Barcelona in the second leg final of the Spanish Super Cup at the Santiago Bernabéu, replacing Mesut Özil in the 83rd minute. Madrid eventually won the game, giving Modrić his first trophy with the club just 36 hours after his signing was announced. Despite his positive debut, Modrić initially struggled to settle into the team under manager Jose Mourinho due to his lack of pre-season training which he missed as a result of his ongoing transfer negotiations. The presence of veteran midfielder, Xabi Alonso, usually kept him out of the starting lineup, limiting him to substitute appearances and mostly playing out of position for the first few months at the club. He played his first UEFA Champions League game for Real Madrid in a group match against Manchester City on 18 September, which Madrid won 3–2. On 3 November, Modrić scored his first goal for Real Madrid in the last minute of their 4–0 victory over Real Zaragoza in La Liga. On November 17, with a crossfield pass from over 50 meters assisted for Benzema, the first goal in a 5–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao. His most memorable game that year was on December 4, when with a crossfield passes pre-asissited for the first, and assisted for the second goal in 4–1 Uefa group victory over Ajax, receiving accolades from the critics.
Modrić was chosen to start in Real Madrid's home game against league rivals, Barcelona, on 2 March 2013. He assisted teammate, Sergio Ramos, from a corner kick to score the winning goal in the 82nd minute, giving Real victory in the El Clásico derby. Three days later, on 5 March, Modrić came on as a second half substitute during the decisive Champions League knockout leg against Manchester United at Old Trafford. With Madrid behind by a goal, he leveled the game with a long-range shot 25-yards out and went on to play a key role in the rest of the game which Real Madrid won 2–1, advancing them to the quarter-finals 3–2 on aggregate. On 16 March, he replicated this performance against Real Mallorca, giving Real Madrid the lead with a long range volley from 30 yards in a game which his team went on to win 5–2. Modrić played as a starter in both Champions League semi-final games against Borussia Dortmund. In the first leg on April 24, played in a central mid-field position where didn't manage to influence the game and the team went to loss 4-1, while on the April 30 second leg 2-0 vicotry, played as the deep-lying playmaker providing passes for the attackers and creating several opportunities, being among the best players that night. Since March, Modrić's form and influence in the midfield continued to grow, with most passes and completed percent on the pitch, and distinguished himself as a leading performer of aside kicks. On May 8, assisted from the corner for the first goal, and scored the fifth in a 6-2 victory over Malaga, with which Real Madrid surpassed the mark of over five thousand five hundred goals in La Liga history.
International career 
|This section requires expansion. (March 2013)|
Modrić's first international experience came at youth level, playing for the Croatian under-17, under-19 and under-21 teams. He made his full international debut on 1 March 2006 in a friendly match against Argentina in Basel, Switzerland, which Croatia won 3–2. At the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, he made two appearances as a substitute in the group fixtures against Japan and Australia. With the appointment of new manager Slaven Bilić, Modrić earned greater recognition at international level, scoring his first goal in Croatia's 2–0 friendly win over Italy on 16 August 2006 in Livorno. His performances ensured a regular place in the international side, and he gave an impressive showing in Croatia's successful Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, which recorded home and away victories against England.
Much was expected of the young midfielder often dubbed "the Croatian Cruyff". Modrić scored Croatia's first goal of Euro 2008, converting a penalty in the fourth minute of their 1–0 victory against Austria on 8 June 2008. It was the fastest penalty ever awarded and scored in European Championship history. He continued to impress at the tournament and was named UEFA Man of the Match in their next game when Croatia defeated one of the pre-tournament favorites and eventual finalists Germany. In the quarter-final against Turkey, Modrić took advantage of a mistake by veteran Turkish goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber, and crossed to teammate Ivan Klasnić for the first goal of the game with only a minute remaining of extra time. Semih Şentürk, however, equalised for Turkey almost immediately. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Modrić failed to score the first penalty with his off-target kick. Turkey went on to win the shootout 3–1. At the end of the competition, Modrić was included in the UEFA Team of the Tournament, becoming only the second Croatian to ever achieve this honour, the first being Davor Šuker.
After appearing in all of their UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier matches, he was then included in the main tournament Euro 2012 squad. He started in all three of Croatia group stage matches as the team failed to progress.
International goals 
|Luka Modrić – goals for Croatia|
|1.||16 August 2006||Stadio Armando Picchi, Livorno, Italy||Italy||
|2.||7 October 2006||Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia||Andorra||
||Euro 2008 qualifying|
|3.||7 February 2007||Kantrida, Rijeka, Croatia||Norway||
|4.||8 June 2008||Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna, Austria||Austria||
|5.||6 September 2008||Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia||Kazakhstan||
||2010 World Cup qualifying|
|6.||15 October 2008||Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia||Andorra||
||2010 World Cup qualifying|
|7.||6 June 2009||Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia||Ukraine||
||2010 World Cup qualifying|
|8.||6 September 2011||Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia||Israel||
||Euro 2012 qualifying|
Style of play 
Luka Modrić is a creative playmaker with immense vision, able to change the course of the game with a pass, from both distances, or with a solo long-range effort. He can play with both feet, and combines this with his swift offensive positioning off the ball. His complex game brought him consistent success in the Croatian first division, as recognised when he was signed by Tottenham Hotspur in July 2008. His best role is as a central playmaker and during his time at Dinamo Zagreb, he proved his ability to play as an attacking midfielder, especially on his preferred left wing. In the 2010–11 season, Modrić has been seen to adopt a defensive midfield role in addition to playmaking, tracking back to win the ball from the opposition and prepare for counter-attack, making him one of the most versatile players in the Spurs squad. When Modric signed for Real Madrid in the summer of 2012, the magazine Champions League wrote "[He's] inventiveness and skills in taking back ball possesion are crucial for Jose Mourinho's plan C – domination in ball possesion.", and accoding to Mourinho believes, Modric is the one who will help the team to dominate in the new season. His role in Real Madrid was described as the second deep-lying pivot along Xabi Alonso, a classic playmaker when is needed his creativity to unlock the defense, or someone in formation 4–3–3 who would set back teams which like keeping the ball. In the Croatian national squad, Modrić linked up well with Niko Kovač, also demonstrating his defensive ability. Croatian team manager Slaven Bilić has utilised Modrić's flexibility to good effect when experimenting with the team formation. Most notably, Modrić formed a "telepathic understanding" with Eduardo when they played together at Dinamo and the national team.
Modric's ingenuity in game was well praised. Dragan Stojkovic Piksi stated "For me, he is one of the best midfielders in the world, and along Xavi and Iniesta see him as the most intelligent world player.", and remembers when saw him for the first time in Maksimir "I saw a small blond boy who played exactly like I would. Ideas he was showing then on the terrain, were fascinating." Johan Cruyff stated "Modric has a huge quality, but it is important on which way is allowed to show it, how much gets freedom." Ex manager of Tottenham, Harry Redknapp, praised him several times, noting he is a special player, like after the draw with Manchester United, "He was unbelievable. Magnificent. He's an amazing footballer, the little man takes the ball in the tightest areas with people around him, wriggling out of situations. He could play in any team in the world.", "You will play a tight ball in to Luka Modric with someone closing him but you might not play it to some other people for fear of losing the ball and then bang, it's in the back of your net." Others include Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, S.G. Eriksson.
Personal life 
Modrić married Vanja Bosnić in May 2010 in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, after four years of dating. His teammate at the time, Vedran Ćorluka, was his best man. On 6 June 2010, Modrić became a father.
Career statistics 
|Club||Season||League||Cup[nb 1]||Europe[nb 2]||Total|
|Zrinjski Mostar (loan)|
|Inter Zaprešić (loan)|
Statistics accurate as of match played 17 May 2013
National team 
|Croatia national team|
- Croatian First League (3): 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08
- Croatian Cup (2): 2006–07, 2007–08
- Croatian Supercup (1): 2006
- Bosnian Premier League Player of the Year (1): 2003
- Croatian Football Hope of the Year (1): 2004
- Prva HNL Player of the Year (1): 2005
- Croatian First League Player of the Year (1): 2007
- Croatian Footballer of the Year (3): 2007, 2008, 2011
- UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament (1): 2008
- Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Player of the Year (1): 2010–11
- Includes cup competitions such as the Croatian Cup, Football League Cup and Supercopa de España
- Includes European club competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Luka Modrić|
- Profile at Realmadrid.com
- Luka Modrić – UEFA competition record
- Luka Modrić – FIFA competition record
- Luka Modrić career stats at Soccerbase
- Luka Modrić at National-Football-Teams.com
- Luka Modrić international stats at the Croatian Football Federation website