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Luka Modrić

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Luka Modrić
Shahter-Reak M 2015 (10).jpg
Modrić playing for Real Madrid in 2015
Personal information
Full name Luka Modrić[1]
Date of birth (1985-09-09) 9 September 1985 (age 30)[1]
Place of birth Zadar, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Real Madrid
Number 19
Youth career
1996–2001 Zadar
2002–2003 Dinamo Zagreb
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2008 Dinamo Zagreb 94 (27)
2003–2004 Zrinjski (loan) 22 (8)
2004–2005 Inter Zaprešić (loan) 18 (4)
2008–2012 Tottenham Hotspur 127 (13)
2012– Real Madrid 104 (5)
National team
2001 Croatia U15 2 (0)
2001 Croatia U17 2 (0)
2003 Croatia U18 7 (0)
2003–2004 Croatia U19 11 (2)
2004–2005 Croatia U21 15 (2)
2006– Croatia 87 (10)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:27, 31 January 2016 (UTC).
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10 October 2015

Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [lûːka mǒːdrit͡ɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Croatia national team. Modrić plays mainly as a central midfielder, but can also play as an attacking and defensive midfielder.

After showing promise in hometown club Zadar's youth team, he was signed by Dinamo Zagreb in 2002. His professional career began with loan spells at Zrinjski Mostar and Inter Zaprešić.[3] While he was playing for Dinamo Zagreb, they won three consecutive league titles and three domestic cups,[4] with Modrić named Prva HNL "Player of the Year" in 2007.[2] In 2008, he moved to Tottenham Hotspur in England's Premier League, before moving to Real Madrid in the summer of 2012.[3] In his second season at Real Madrid, he won the UEFA Champions League.[2]

Modrić is a Croatian international and made his debut against Argentina in March 2006. He has since participated in four major tournaments; 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008 and 2012. He scored his first international goal in the friendly match against Italy, and at the Euro 2008 was included in the UEFA "Team of the Tournament", becoming only the second Croatian to ever achieve this honour.[5] Modrić became the first Croatian who was included in the FIFA World XI.[6]

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Luka Modrić was born on 9 September 1985, and raised in the hamlet Modrići of the village Zaton Obrovački near Zadar,[7][8] in SR Croatia, then a republic within SFR Yugoslavia. He is the oldest child of aeromechanic, Stipe Modrić, and textile worker, Radojka[9] or Jasminka[10] Modrić. His childhood coincided with the Croatian War of Independence, and in 1991, when the war escalated, his family was forced to flee the area.[8] His father joined the Croatian Army.[8] Modrić's grandfather, Luka, and six other elderly civilians were executed by Croatian Serb rebels in December 1991, in the village of Jesenice.[8][11] The young Modrić became a refugee and lived in a hotel in Zadar with his family.[8][12] Modrić stated that, most of the time, he was not aware of the war because there were many children he befriended, and their parents did not let it affect their childhood.[13] It was in these difficult circumstances that Modrić began playing football. In 1992, he simultaneously entered the primary school, and with the little money the family had, his father enrolled him in the local sporting academy.[8][12][13] Supported by his family, he managed to participate in few representative camps, and train in NK Zadar.[8][13] There was under tutelage of coach Domagoj Bašić, and Tomislav Bašić, the head of the youth academy.[8] Bašić recalled how due to lack of money, Modrić's father homemade wooden shin guards.[8] Due to being "light-weight" he was not signed by Hajduk,[8][14] and after further displaying some talent, Modrić signed with Dinamo Zagreb as a 16-year-old in late 2001.[3][8]

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.[8] 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.[15] Modrić later claimed that "someone who can play in the Bosnian league can play anywhere", referring to its physical nature.[15] 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 Football League,[16] 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.[15] He returned to Dinamo Zagreb in 2005.[15]

Dinamo Zagreb[edit]

In the 2005–06 season, Modrić signed his first long-term contract with Dinamo, for ten years.[15] He managed to secure a place in Dinamo's first team, contributing 7 goals in 31 matches to help win the league.[4] In the 2006–07 season, Dinamo again won the league with Modrić making a similar contribution,[4] being main assist for Eduardo da Silva,[15] which was acknowledged by the Prva HNL Player of the Year award.[2]

The following season, he led Dinamo's attempt to qualify for the UEFA Cup 2007–08. In the final play-off stage, Modrić converted a penalty in the second and away fixture against AFC Ajax in a game that resulted with 1–1 after regular time. Dinamo then went on to win the game and play-off with 3–2 in extra time after two goals from teammate Mario Mandžukić.[17] 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.[18][19] He finished his four-year tenure at Dinamo with a tally of 31 goals and 29 assists in four seasons,[20] contributing most notably in the 2007–08 season when Dinamo won the second Croatian Cup and became champions by a 28-point margin.[21] Modrić was followed by Barcelona and Arsenal.[22]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

2008–09 season[edit]

Modrić in a game against Chelsea, 2008.

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.[23] After signing a six-year contract, 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.[24] Modrić made his competitive Premier League's debut on 16 August in the 2–1 defeat by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in Spurs' first match of the 2008–09 season.[25]

Modrić had a slow start at Tottenham, and as suffered from a niggling knee injury early in his Spurs career, he had to endure being labelled as a "light-weight" by sections of the media,[3][26] and Arsene Wenger.[27] This coincided with his poor form, leading to concerns both for himself and Croatia manager Slaven Bilić.[28] Modrić spent his early days at a position of number 10, before being shifted to the left wing to play along Wilson Palacios.[27] Spurs team-mate Tom Huddlestone later commented how "his versatility was probably a blessing and a curse, he was that good that he had to play out of position for a bit".[27]

With the appointment of manager Harry Redknapp, Modrić was given a more familiar role as a central or left-sided midfielder. This allowed Modrić to have a far more influence on the team and also utilise his footballing talent more productively, as in the thrilling 4–4 draw with arch-rivals Arsenal on 29 October 2008.[29] 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.[30] Modrić scored his first Tottenham competitive goal in a 2–2 draw against Spartak Moscow during the UEFA Cup group stages on 18 December 2008.[31] He scored his first Premier League goals against Newcastle United in Spurs' away defeat on 21 December 2008, home win in the third round of FA Cup against Wigan on 2 January 2009, and in away defeat against Manchester United on 25 April 2009.[32]

Using him in his former position from Dinamo Zagreb days made him even more effective with inspirational performances against Stoke City,[33] Hull City,[34] and most notably on 21 March, when scored the single goal of the game with the match-winning performance against Chelsea.[35]

2009–10 season[edit]

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".[36]

On 29 August 2009, during Tottenham's 2–1 win over Birmingham City, Modrić was taken off injured with a suspected calf injury.[37] 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.[38] He made his return after many delays on 28 December, in the London derby against West Ham United, which Spurs won 2–0, with Modrić scoring with the leg he broke in the 11th minute.[39] He again scored in home win against Everton on 28 February,[40] and away defeat against Burnley in the last season's game on 9 May 2010.[41]

On 30 May 2010, Modrić was awarded with a new six-year contract that ran 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-four 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".[42]

2010–11 season[edit]

Modrić playing for Tottenham in 2010.

On 11 September 2010, Modrić scored his first goal of the 2010–11 season in a 1–1 away draw at West Bromwich Albion.[43] On 28 November, in a home match against Liverpool, Modrić scored a solitary goal, but it was later credited as an own-goal by Liverpool defender. After the draw against Manchester United at White Hart Lane in January 2011, the manager of Tottenham, Harry Redknapp, praised him, noting he is a special player: "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".[44] He also scored in Tottenham's 3–2 victory over Stoke City on 9 April,[45] as well as converting a penalty at Anfield on 15 May to complete a 2–0 victory over Liverpool.[46]

In the Champions League, Modrić participated and helped the club reach its first involvement with the competition. On the first game with Inter Milan at San Siro on 20 October 2010, came early out of the game because of injury and they lost 4–3, thanks the tremendous effort of Gareth Bale.[47] On return match at home, on 2 November, as was given to much space to move and dictate the tempo of the game, he created and assisted for the first goal to van der Vaart in 3–1 victory.[48][49] In the consecutive game with Werder Bremen, he scored the second goal after with his left foot calmed the ball received by Crouch, with false shoot deceived defender, and with his right foot hit the undefended part of the goal.[50] Eventually, after A.C. Milan,[51] they were stopped in the quarter finals by Real Madrid.[52]

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%.[53] 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.[54]

2011–12 season[edit]

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 by chairman Daniel Levy.[55][56] 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".[57] 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,[58] stating that his "head was not in the right place" as he continued to force a move to Chelsea.[59] On the final day of the transfer deadline, Chelsea made an offer of £40 million which was again rejected.[60]

"I spent four great years there with a lot of emotions, with a lot of love from the club and the fans. I enjoyed every moment with Tottenham. But in one moment you feel you need to take a step forward, to go to a higher level."

— Luka Modrić, on negotations with Chelsea and move to Real Madrid.[3]

After failing to secure a transfer, team manager Harry Redknapp told Luka Modrić to focus on his playing and named him as a starter.[61] 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.[62] On 14 January 2012, scored the only goal in a home draw with Wolverhampton.[63] On 31 January, Modrić with a crossfield pass assisted for the first goal, and scored the second from 20 yards in a 3–1 win against Wigan,[64] to be for the third time included in "Team of the Week" in the season.[65] 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.[66]

Real Madrid[edit]

2012–13 season[edit]

Modrić playing for Real Madrid against Sevilla FC in 2013.

On 27 August 2012, Real Madrid announced that they had agreed a deal with Tottenham for a fee in the region of £30 million. Modrić signed a five-year contract with the Spanish club.[67][68] Two days later, he made his Real Madrid debut against FC Barcelona in the second leg final of the 2012 Supercopa de España at the Estadio 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.[69] Despite his positive debut, Modrić initially struggled to settle into the team under manager José Mourinho due to his lack of pre-season training which he missed as a result of his ongoing transfer negotiations.[3] The presence of veteran midfielder Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira in defensive midfield, and Mesut Özil in offensive midfield, 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.[70] On 17 November, Modrić assisted a Karim Benzema goal (which was eventually considered an own goal by Jon Aurtenetxe Borde) with a 50-meter cross-field pass. It was the first goal in a 5–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao.[71] His most notable game that year was on 4 December, when with crossfield passes he assisted for the first two goals of Cristiano Ronaldo and José Callejón in a 4–1 victory over Ajax in the group stage of the Champions League.[72][73][74]

Modrić started in Real Madrid's home game against their 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 10 men Manchester United at Old Trafford. With Madrid behind by a goal, he levelled 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.[75][76][77] This game is often seen as the turning point in his career in Real Madrid.[3] 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.[78] Modrić played as a starter in both Champions League semi-final games against Borussia Dortmund. In the first leg on 24 April, he played in the attacking midfield position where he didn't manage to influence the game and eventually, the team lost 4–1, while on the 30 April, in the second leg 2–0 victory, he played as the deep-lying playmaker providing passes for the attackers and creating several opportunities, being among the best rated players that night.[79][80][81] From March 2013, Modrić's form and influence in the midfield continued to grow, distinguishing himself as a player with most passes completed on his team. On 8 May, he assisted from the corner for the first goal, and scored the fourth goal in a 6–2 victory over CD Málaga.[82]

2013–14 season[edit]

With the arrival of new manager Carlo Ancelotti, Modrić became one of the most common starters in the team, being partnered in midfield with Alonso to provide a balance of defense and attack.[83][84] He was consistently the team's most efficient passer, averaging an accuracy rate of 90% in La Liga, and also having the most ball recoveries of any player in the squad.[3][27][83] He scored his first goal of the season in the last Champions League group game against F.C. Copenhagen, making it his fifth overall goal he scored at the club. All five goals were scored from the outside of the box.[85] He scored his first goal of the Spanish league season in a 3–0 away win against Getafe CF, which marked his sixth goal outside of the box.[86] Modrić went on to win the 2013–14 Copa del Rey with Real Madrid, defeating FC Barcelona 2-1 in the final.[87]

In the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, he intercepted the ball and assisted to Cristiano Ronaldo for the third goal in their 3-0 home victory against Borussia Dortmund. The goal was ultimately decisive as Real went on to lose 2-0 in the second leg, but progressed with a marginal aggregate score of 3-2. In his 100th game for the club,[88] Modrić assisted for the first goal in the second leg 4-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, helping Real Madrid reach the final for the first time in 12 years.[89] He was included in UEFA's Team of the Week for both legs of the semi-final.[90][91] On 24 May, in the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, Modrić once again assisted from a corner for teammate Sergio Ramos to score a 93rd minute equalizer against city rivals Atletico Madrid. Real went on to win 4-1 in extra time to mark the club's tenth Champions League title, dubbed locally as la Décima (the tenth).[92] He was included in the UEFA Champions League Team of the Season,[93] and received the LFP award for the "Best Midfielder" of the Spanish first league of that season.[94]

2014–15 season[edit]

Modrić playing against Shakhtar Donetsk during their group stage match in the UEFA Champions League, 25 November 2015.

In the new season Modrić signed a new contract until 2018,[95] and with the departure of Alonso was partnered with newly arrived Toni Kroos.[96] Modrić began the season winning UEFA Super Cup over Sevilla,[97] and assisting twice for Bale, first against Real Sociedad in Spanish league,[98] and second with outside of the foot against FC Basel in Champions League.[99][100] In the 2–0 away win against Villarreal, Modrić scored his seventh goal from outside of the box.[101]

In November Modrić sustained a thigh injury in the international match against Italy, because of which he was out of the game for three months.[102] He returned in early March 2015, starting in seven games where proved again his form.[103] On April 21, in the 3–1 home win against Malaga he strained ligaments in his right knee, because of which was out of the game till May.[104][105][106]

With his injury, the Real Madrid's 22-game winning run in the season came to an end, and his absence, as well lack of quality substitute, was seen as a primal cause of failure for La Liga and Champions League win.[107] Ancelotti commented "we missed Modric for almost all the games since the turn of the year and it cost us".[108] His influence on the game was recognized as was selected by professional players in the FIFA World XI.[6]

2015–16 season[edit]

Ancelotti was replaced by Rafael Benítez, under whom Modrić continued to be key midfield player. He began the season assisting in September, November and December, and scoring in the 3–4 away win against Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stage of Champions League.[109] The muscular (groin) injury sustained in international game in October initially suggested pause of 2–3 weeks,[110] but he soon recovered for the game against Paris Saint-Germain.[111]

With the arrival of new manager, Zinedine Zidane,[112] in the media was noted the relationship between them during the time of Ancelotti, with Modrić described as "master of the game",[113][114] the crucial "connector" of the defense and attack.[115] It was seen in the first two games, against Deportivo de La Coruña (5–0) and Sporting de Gijón (5–1), where Modrić by positioning decided direction and speed of the play,[114] and along Kroos was the player with most touches and percent of passes.[115]

International career[edit]

Modrić, playing for Croatia in 2013.

Modrić's first international experience came at youth level, playing for the Croatian under-17, under-19 and under-21 teams.[15] He made his full international debut on 1 March 2006 in a friendly match against Argentina in Basel, Switzerland, which Croatia won 3–2.[15]

2006 World Cup[edit]

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, he made two appearances as a substitute in the group fixtures against Japan,[116] and Australia.[117] 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.[118]

Euro 2008[edit]

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.[119][120] Much was expected of the young midfielder often dubbed "the Croatian Cruyff".[22] 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.[121] It was the fastest penalty ever awarded and scored in European Championship history.[122] 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.[123] 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.[124] 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.[5]

Euro 2012[edit]

In the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Modrić scored three goals, against Kazakhstan,[125] Andorra,[126] and Ukraine,[127] matching Ivica Olić, Ivan Rakitić, and Eduardo da Silva, but the team fell short of qualifying by a single point behind Ukraine. After appearing in all of their UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier matches, and scoring a goal against Israel,[128] he started in all three of Croatia group stage matches against Republic of Ireland, Italy and Spain, but the team failed to progress. His most notable performance was against Spain, being the one who led the team game and manager Bilić relied to realize the strategy of resisting Spain's football quality on the pitch. The most memorable moment of the game was when Modrić picked the ball on the halfway line skipping Spain's midfield trio, rushing down on the right side to reach penalty area, there evaded a defender and from 18 yards with out side of the foot crossed to Ivan Rakitić, but Iker Casillas saved the goal of this attempt.[129][130] As Croatia did not pass the group stage, he was not included in the Team of the Tournament, but The Telegraph included him in the best eleven until the semi-finals,[131] and his play was well received by the critics.[132][133]

2014 World Cup[edit]

In the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, after the playoffs, Modrić with the Croatian team qualified for the 2014 World Cup. They entered the Group A with Brazil, Mexico and Cameroon. Croatia played the opening game against Brazil, which they eventually lost 3–1,[134] while Modrić sustained slight foot injury.[135][136] In the second game Croatia won 0–4 against Cameroon,[137] but did not progress as they lost 1–3 against Mexico,[138] despite the great expectations from the Croatian public.[139]

Euro 2016[edit]

In the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying, Modrić scored his first goals for Croatia after three years, the first against Malta on his 29th birthday with a long range shot,[140] and then scored a penalty against Azerbaijan.[141] On March 3, 2015, Modrić for the first time was the captain of the national team, in an away draw against Azerbaijan.[142]

Player profile[edit]

Style of play[edit]

Modrić, playing for Croatia in 2013, has been considered as the most versatile, and crucial player of the national team.

"Not only is he a very hard worker, he has a good brain and he provided some calmness and composure to the midfield. His passing was neat and his contribution was outstanding. He was not only winning the ball, he was passing well. We thought that he was very influential. He did not just work hard, he made the other people play well around him."

Gérard Houllier, UEFA Technical Team[123]

Modrić is described as a creative playmaker with great vision, able to change the course of the game with a pass, from both distances, or with a solo long-range effort.[143] He is able to play with both feet, and combines this with his swift offensive positioning off the ball.[144] Huddlestone noted that "the main difference between Modrić and most other players is his ability to pass the ball with the outside of the boot", as well the ball control, first touch and keeping the ball.[27] He is also noted for his passing and dribbling skills.[145]

His complex game brought him consistent success in the clubs he played for. Although a central midfielder, 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.[144] His position in Real Madrid is number six, eight or ten, depending on the tactics,[146] while his role was described as the second deep-lying pivot along Xabi Alonso in the 2012–13 season, a classic playmaker when his creativity is needed to unlock the defense.[147][148]

Reception[edit]

Modrić's cleverness in the game was recognized by Piksi, who stated: "I saw a small blond boy who played exactly like I would. Ideas he was showing then on the terrain were fascinating".[149] For him Modrić, along Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, is the most intelligent player.[149] Predrag Mijatović considered that Modrić became "Madrid's best player, with Ronaldo".[150] Johan Cruyff noted that Modrić's quality and influence to the game depend on the freedom he gets.[151] Paul Scholes who several times played against him, in an interview to Manchester Evening News in 2011 said: "Of the three [Samir Nasri and Wesley Sneijder], Modrić, has been the one I have been most impressed with, [and] whenever we played Tottenham, he was the one who stood out".[152] Zinedine Zidane included him in his best XI currently playing the game.[153]

José Mourinho stated that the reason why he wanted him in Real Madrid is because of his influence on the game, tactical level and has "that artistic sense."[146] Carlo Ancelotti praised Modrić's technique and versatility as a midfield player, stating: "Modric is an outstanding player and in my opinion one of the best midfielders in the world right now, because he can play in more than one position".[154][155] Alex Ferguson highly regarded him as a player while played in Premier League, stating it's fair to compare him to Paul Scholes as both are intelligent footballers with good passing consistency and control of the game,[156][157] as well fairplay.[158] Slaven Bilić stated that Modrić "is a player who makes others better, they all benefit from him being in the team. He's not selfish, he's playing for the team", and considered that "he's a complete player; good in defence, good in offence - it looks like he was born with the ball at his feet".[27] Others managers who have praised his game include Pep Guardiola[159][160] and Sven-Göran Eriksson.[161]

Personal life[edit]

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.[162] Their son, Ivano, was born on 6 June 2010.[163][164] On 25 April 2013, their daughter, Ema, was born.[164][165] He generally lives a quiet family life.[166]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Statistics accurate as of match played on 31 January 2016

Club Season League Cup1 Europe2 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Zrinjski Mostar (loan)
2003–04 22 8 0 0 0 0 22 8
Inter Zaprešić (loan)
2004–05 18 4 0 0 0 0 18 4
Dinamo Zagreb
2004–05 7 0 1 0 0 0 8 0
2005–06 32 8 1 0 0 0 33 15
2006–07 30 6 8 2 6 0 44 8
2007–08 25 13 8 1 10 3 43 17
Total 94 27 18 3 16 3 128 33
Tottenham Hotspur
2008–09 34 3 6 1 4 1 44 5
2009–10 25 3 7 0 0 0 32 3
2010–11 32 3 2 0 9 1 43 4
2011–12 36 4 2 0 2 1 40 5
Total 127 13 17 1 15 3 159 17
Real Madrid
2012–13 33 3 9 0 11 1 53 4
2013–14 34 1 6 0 11 1 51 2
2014–15 16 1 2 0 7 0 25 1
2015–16 21 0 0 0 5 1 26 1
Total 104 5 17 0 34 3 155 8
Career totals 365 57 52 4 65 9 482 70

1 Includes cup competitions such as the Croatian Cup, Croatian Supercup, FA Cup, Football League Cup, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España.

2 Includes UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

International[edit]

As of 6 September 2015
Croatia national team[167]
Year Apps Goals
2006 12 2
2007 10 1
2008 11 3
2009 3 1
2010 8 0
2011 9 1
2012 9 0
2013 10 0
2014 11 2
2015 3 0
Total 86 10

International goals[edit]

Luka Modrić – goals for Croatia[167]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 16 August 2006 Stadio Armando Picchi, Livorno, Italy  Italy
0–2
0–2
Friendly
2. 7 October 2006 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Andorra
7–0
7–0
Euro 2008 qualifying
3. 7 February 2007 Kantrida, Rijeka, Croatia  Norway
2–0
2–1
Friendly
4. 8 June 2008 Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna, Austria  Austria
0–1
0–1
Euro 2008
5. 6 September 2008 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Kazakhstan
2–0
3–0
2010 World Cup qualifying
6. 15 October 2008 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Andorra
3–0
4–0
2010 World Cup qualifying
7. 6 June 2009 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Ukraine
2–2
2–2
2010 World Cup qualifying
8. 6 September 2011 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Israel
1–1
3–1
Euro 2012 qualifying
9. 9 September 2014 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Malta
1–0
2–0
Euro 2016 qualifying
10. 13 October 2014 Stadion Gradski vrt, Osijek, Croatia  Azerbaijan
5–0
6–0
Euro 2016 qualifying

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Dinamo Zagreb[2]
Real Madrid[2]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]