Today, at KhelAcademy, we take a look at one of the finest footballers of this generation and, arguably, in footballing history. The 2018 World Cup
finalist is also the only player in 11 years to deny Messi and Ronaldo a Ballon D'Or - bagging one himself in 2018. Yes! We are talking about Real
Madrid midfield maestro – Luka Modrić – a serial Champions League winner. The Croatian captain and legend was an indispensable part of
Madrid's 4 CL wins in 5 years – an improbable feat never heard of before. However, the fascinating story here is how the little boy born during the Bosnia War at worn-torn Zadar, went on to become one of the best ever to grace the beautiful game.
Modric had to face hardships ever since he was born when Croatia was at war. His parents would have to spend their days at work in a nearby factory, while young Luka would spend most of his days with this grandfather. At the age of 6, he was forced to become a refugee in his own country when his grandfather was shot while he walked his cattle's by Serb rebels. This was a moment that would live with the Ballon D'Or winner to this day and define the man he has become.
With his family, Modric took shelter in a refugee camp, disguised as an abandoned hotel, for seven long years of the war. The sounds of grenades exploding and gunfire raining down would be commonplace at his new abode. Here starts the journey of Luka Modric – the footballer.
However, it wasn't smooth sailing from the start of his career. Much like his Barcelona counterpart, Lionel Messi, the Croatian faced a lot of reservations from football clubs and scouts because of his short 5'8" frame. A trial with his boyhood club, Hajduk Split, was unsuccessful for the same reasons, but that didn't dampen the youngster's spirit. Modric went on to impress the coaches at Dinamo Zagreb, and with a few loan spells, became the player of the year in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the age of 18.
Soon enough, Modric became a regular at Dinamo and was instrumental in three consecutive league titles between 2006-08. His World Cup journey began as early as 2006, but Croatia failed to make a mark. The red and whites of Croatia had disappointing outings in Germany and Brazil too, but he did what he did best till that moment – he never gave up. After impressing clubs all over Europe with performances at Dinamo Zagreb, he made a move to Tottenham
Hotspur in 2008. Commendable performances for 4 seasons at White Hart Lane opened the doors for a transfer to the Club of the 20th Century – Real Madrid. All the years of pain and agony, pulling through immense hardships, cumulated into the most successful year of his football career in 2018.
Recollecting his childhood days, the Croatian captain said, "The war made me stronger, it was a very hard time for me and my family, I don't want to
drag that with me forever, but I don't want to forget about it either." There's a famous English phrase, and it says – What doesn't kill you makes you
stronger. In modern lingo, the 34-year old is what you would call a mentality monster. He absorbs attack after attack of the best players in world and club football, and yet maintains composure to pick the perfect assists and passes for his forwards to capitalize on. The year 2018, saw Luka Modric guide the same country he was forced to become a refugee in, to the World Cup Finals, while helping his long-time club, Real Madrid, to claim their 3rd consecutive Champions League on the trot. A truly inspirational figure and a hero to his people, Luka Modric, has established his place among the greats of footballing history! And, most importantly, a great human being.