Even at 37 years old, Luka Modric is ever-present on football’s grandest stages. Next, the serial trophy hoarder could bring the World Cup home from Qatar.
Modric whipped his penalty past Alisson Becker and celebrated with a roaring uppercut as Croatia buried Brazil in the quarterfinals and setup a last-four showdown with Lionel Messi and Argentina.
The Real Madrid icon will go down as perhaps the greatest midfielder of his generation regardless, but glory in Qatar would propel him to footballing immortality.
Although Modric has played at the top level for almost 15 years, there is still more history to be written by this playmaking pass-master.
Has Luka Modric won a Ballon d’Or?
Since Kaka was handed the 2007 award, only two men who aren’t named Ronaldo or Messi have won the Ballon d’Or. One of those men is Luka Modric.
The Croatian maestro broke Ronaldo and Messi’s 10-year chokehold on the prize in 2018, dominating ahead of the Portuguese superstar and Frenchman Antoine Griezmann.
Why was Modric awarded the Ballon d’Or?
For club and country, Luka Modric was simply awesome in 2018.
Functioning as a priceless force in the Real Madrid midfield, he lifted four trophies including the fourth of his five Champions Leagues. However, it was his performance that summer at the World Cup in Russia that undoubtedly clinched the Ballon d’Or.
As captain of the Croatia team, Modric led his nation all the way to their first World Cup final.
Two goals in Group D helped Croatia go through in top-spot with three victories, sinking Argentina 3-0. A repeat of that result in the 2022 semifinal would do nicely for Modric and Co.
The midfielder’s performance against England stood out particularly, running the show as Gareth Southgate’s men were dumped out in the last four.
Has Luka Modric won the World Cup?
Modric was a clear winner of the 2018 Ballon d’Or, and his dominance would have been even more stark had Croatia won the World Cup final.
However, Kylian Mbappe and France proved too strong in Moscow and overpowered the Croatians, winning 4-2.
Modric also featured at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups but Croatia were eliminated in the group stages at both tournaments.
Never. Give. Up. pic.twitter.com/Rv3C6bZrB6
— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10) December 9, 2022
Luka Modric club career
Born in the Croatian coastline town of Zadar, Modric was plucked from his local team’s youth ranks by Dinamo Zagreb from the capital, where he would make his debut in senior football.
His talent was always noted by Croatian coaches, and at 18 years old he was named Bosnian Player of the Season for a stellar campaign on loan at Zrinjski Mostar.
Modric was brought back to Dinamo and four seasons, three consecutive Croatian championships and 31 goals and 29 assists later, he was being linked with Barcelona, Arsenal and Chelsea.
In 2008, Tottenham won the race for his signature, paying a club-record-equalling transfer fee of £16.5 million.
It would be the only trophy-less period of this career and his time in England started sluggishly, as injuries and the physicality of the Premier League took their toll. However, he became established as a mainstay in Harry Redknapp’s team and attracted Real Madrid’s attention with some classy displays in the Champions League.
Real signed the Croatian for £30million in 2012, a bargain considering the player he went on to become in Madrid. Now, 10 years on, he is one of the Spanish side’s greatest players.
Ballon d’Or winners