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By Leonardo Burgeño, @leoburgueno
Luka Modric was 6 years old when the war broke out in Croatia. At that time, the child born on the Adriatic Sea already had an inseparable friend: the ball.
Bombs and bullets forced his family to leave their place of origin and begin to retrace their steps in different places. Until the horror knocked on his door when his grandfather was executed in December 1991 by the Serbian rebels, in Jesenice.
“Luka saw with his own eyes how they killed his grandfather, and his family had no choice but to flee to Zadar so as not to be killed through the forests and the mountains,” said Josip Bajlo, former coach and sports director of the NK Zadar, just the team that welcomed him to start his career.
“The war made me stronger, so now I'm ready for anything“Modric remarked when he was already playing in England.
The commitment to football
His parents supported him to dedicate himself to soccer. The teenager who looked frail came to Dinamo from Zagreb, however, the cast of the Croatian capital twice sent him on loan.
In the first season he went to HŠK Zrinjski Mostar of Bosnia Herzegovina, where he was chosen the best player in the league, with 19 years. He then went through Inter Zapresic to return more mature to Dinamo Zagreb.
Until a key person in his life appeared: the Spanish coach Juande Ramos, who recommended him for Tottenham.
The London team fought him with Barcelona until he put 21 million euros and stayed with the player a decade ago. “I decided on him after seeing him only twice, because it is clear that he is an extraordinary class player, who will improve the performance of the whole team when it adapts to the new reality, “said the coach of the” Spurs “at that moment.
But the Premier League started with problems: a knee injury, the dismissal of the Spanish coach and the criticism of the English press that was too “light” for that competition (measures 1.72 and weight 66 kilos).
The quality jump
In 2012 he came to Real Madrid in exchange for 30 million euros. “It's the happiest day of my life,” said that day. The little Modric reached the top.
“Since the retirement of Xavi, Modric has become the best midfielder in the world,” says Santiago Segurola, the most influential Spanish columnist on football issues.
The “Bird”, as they say, clearly he grew his performance as a right inside midfield that makes up with Casemiro (midfielder) and Toni Kroos (left inside).
Modric style has things of his favorite players: the accuracy in the deliveries of Xavi and filtered pass of Iniesta.
This year, the Croatian came to win his fourth Champions League and guided his team to the World Cup final to be chosen the most prominent of the two appointments.
Now he goes for the jackpot: to be the best of all. An award that the story was due to his two models of midfielders.