Modrić playing for Croatia in 2012
|Full name||Luka Modrić|
|Date of birth||9 September 1985|
|Place of birth||Zadar, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 9 in) |
|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 15:59, 17 May 2014 (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 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. In his second season at Real Madrid, he won the UEFA Champions League.
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.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Style of play
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Career statistics
- 6 Honours
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Luka Modrić was born in SR Croatia, then a republic within SFR Yugoslavia. He is the oldest child of aeromechanic, Stipe Modrić, and Radojka Modrić, a housewife. His childhood coincided with the Croatian War of Independence, and in 1991, when the war escalated, his family was forced to flee the area when he was 6 years old. His father joined the Croatian army, and during the war, Modrić lost his grandfather. His grandfather Luka and other six civilians, all elderly people, were killed by the Serbian forces in December 1991, in Jesenice.  At the time of the aggression, Modrić, as refugee, lived in a hotel in Zadar, with his family. Modrić stated that, most of the time, 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, his father enrolled him in the local sporting academy. Supported by his family, he managed to participate in few representative camps, and train in NK 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.
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.
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 1–5 victory. Two days later, on 30 July, Modrić scored his first goal for the club in the 1–5 victory against Leyton Orient. His competitive Premier League's debut was on 16 August in the 2–1 defeat by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in Spurs' first match of the 2008–09 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 Stoke City, Hull City, and most notably on 21 March, when scored the single goal of the game with the match-winning performance against Chelsea. He scored his first Premier League goal 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. 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.
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. He again scored in home win against Everton on 28 February, and away defeat against Burnley in the last season's game on 9 May 2010.
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-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".
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 own-goal 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." 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. In the Champions League, Modrić participated and helped the club reach its first involment 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. 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. 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. Eventually, after A.C. Milan, they were stopped in the quarter finals by Real Madrid.
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.
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 named him 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 14 January 2012, scored the only goal in a home draw with Wolverhampton. 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, 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.
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 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. 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. 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. On November 17, 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. His most notable game that year was on December 4, 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.
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. 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, 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 April 30, 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. 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 May 8, he assisted from the corner for the first goal, and scored the fourth goal in a 6–2 victory over CD Málaga.
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. 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. 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. 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. Modrić went on to win the 2013–14 Copa del Rey with Real Madrid, defeating FC Barcelona 2-1 in the final.
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, 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. He was included in UEFA's Team of the Week for both legs of the semi-final. On May 24, 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). He was included in the UEFA Champions League Team of the Season.
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.
2006 World Cup
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.
In the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Modrić scored three goals, against Kazakhstan, Andorra and Ukraine, matching Ivan Rakitić, Ivica Olić, 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, 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. 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, and his play was well received by the critics.
Style of play
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. He is able to play with both feet, and combines this with his swift offensive positioning off the ball. His complex game brought him consistent success in the clubs he played for. His best role is as a central midfielder 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. His position in Real Madrid is number six, eight or ten, depending on the tactics, while his role was described as the second deep-lying pivot along Xabi Alonso, a classic playmaker when his creativity is needed to unlock the defense.
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.
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." Johan Cruyff noted that Modrić's quality and influence to the game depend on the freedom he gets. 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."
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." 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". 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, as well fairplay. Others managers who have praised his game include, Pep Guardiola, and S.G. Eriksson.
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. Their son, Ivano, was born on 6 June 2010. On 25 April 2013, their daughter, Ema, was born.
Statistics accurate as of match played 24 May 2014
|Club||Season||League||Cup[nb 1]||Europe[nb 2]||Total|
|Zrinjski Mostar (loan)|
|Inter Zaprešić (loan)|
|Croatia national team|
|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|
- Dinamo Zagreb
- Croatian First League (3): 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08
- Croatian Cup (2): 2006–07, 2007–08
- Croatian Supercup (1): 2006
- Real Madrid
- Bosnian Premier League Player of the Year (1): 2003
- Croatian Football Hope of the Year (1): 2004
- HNL’s Footballer of the Year (1): 2007
- Prva HNL Player of the Year (1): 2007
- SN Yellow Shirt Award (1): 2007–08
- 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
- Croatian Football Oscar; Footballer of the Year (2): 2013, 2014
- UEFA Champions League Team of the Season (1): 2013–14
- Includes cup competitions such as the Croatian Cup, FA Cup, Football League Cup, Copa del Rey 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