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.
Supported by his family, he participated in representative camps and trained in NK Zadar. He was under tutelage of coach Domagoj Bašić and the head of the youth academy Tomislav Bašić. Tomislav Bašić said Modrić’s father made him wooden shin guards because they had little money.
Due to being “light-weight” he was not signed by Hajduk, and after displaying some talent, Modrić signed with Dinamo Zagreb as a 16-year-old in late 2001. After a season with Dinamo Zagreb’s youth side, Modrić was loaned out in 2003 to Zrinjski Mostar in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During this period he established his versatile style of play and became the Bosnian and Herzegovinian League Player of the Year while still 18 years old. Modrić later said, “someone who can play in the Bosnian league can play anywhere”, referring to its physical nature. The following year, he was loaned out to Croatian side Inter Zaprešić. He spent one season there, helping the team to achieve second position in the Croatian First Football League and a place in the prelimanry round of the UEFA Cup, now Europa League preliminary round. He also won the Croatian Football Hope of the Year award in 2004. He returned to Dinamo Zagreb in 2005.
Modrić is described as a creative playmaker with great vision, able to change the course of the game with a pass, both from distances or with a solo, long-range effort. He is able to play with both feet and combines this with his swift, offensive positioning of the ball.
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, Tottenham confirmed the fee paid was £16.5 million, equalling the club’s record fee set by Darren Bent’s move in 2007. Modrić made his competitive Premier League debut on 16 August in a match that ended in a 2–1 defeat by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in Spurs’ first match of the 2008–09 season.
On 27 August 2012, Real Madrid announced 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. 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 won the game, giving Modrić his first trophy with the club 36 hours after his signing was announced. Despite his positive debut, Modrić initially struggled to settle into the team under manager José Mourinho because of his lack of pre-season training, which he missed as a result of his ongoing transfer negotiations. However, Modric is not a regular player for Real Madrid and a key player for Zinedine Zindane.
Modrić made his debut as a Croatian international player against Argentina in March 2006; he has since participated in four major tournaments; the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008, 2012 and 2016. He scored his first international goal in a friendly match against Italy, and was included in the UEFA “Team of the Tournament” at the Euro 2008, becoming only the second Croatian to ever achieve this honour. Modrić became the first Croatian player to be included in the FIFA World XI.