The face of Croatia’s golden generation and a mainstay at the top table of European football, Luka Modric has already built an unforgettable career.
But now, in the glowing autumn of his career, this five-time Champions League winner is fighting to lift the World Cup as Croatia’s captain.
Modric led his countrymen through Group F as runners-up in Qatar before the Balkan team showed their mettle in successive shoot-out victories – sending Japan’s giant killers home, then dumping tournament favorites Brazil out.
Modric cooly finished his penalty to help bury the Brazilians, and now turns his attention to Argentina and old foe Lionel Messi.
How old is Luka Modric?
Alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Modric is among a raft of iconic names in the final years of their glittering careers.
At 37 years old, Modric is still ruthlessly effective. Although he rarely completes 90 minutes these days for his club, the playmaking pass-master featured in 13 of Real Madrid’s 14 La Liga matches before Qatar – scoring three and assisting twice.
Modric turns 38 in September 2023 but he has no plans to slow down.
More: Is Qatar 2022 Lionel Messi’s last World Cup?
How many caps and World Cups has he played in?
Modric’s international career began in a distant era. When Croatia played Brazil in their group stage opener at the 2006 World Cup, Modric watched from the bench.
Kaka scored the only goal, combining with Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Adriano, Roberto Carlos and Cafu. The 20-year-old would take his revenge on a new generation of Brazilians 16 years later in dramatic fashion.
Qatar 2022 is Modric’s fourth World Cup, where he has been extending his lead as the most capped Croatia player of all time (160).
Croatia were eliminated from the group stages in 2006 and 2010 but things changed after Modric took the captain’s armband. The midfielder barely missed a minute as Croatia drove to the 2018 final, where Kylian Mbappe and company edged it for France.
Adding to his Ballon d’Or, Modric was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
Is Modric retiring after the World Cup?
Despite thriving at the top level for almost 15 years Modric has quashed rumours that he’ll retire from Croatia duty after the 2022 World Cup.
“No, I won’t leave the national team. I feel very fit, very good and I’ll stay here until I can,” the Real Madrid hero said in Qatar.
“There’s no reason to retire. It’s my choice. People say I should leave and focus on club football. I don’t agree.”
Modric will be 40-years-old when the World Cup hits North America in 2026.
Luka Modric contract and transfer situation
The former Ballon d’Or is still producing magnificently for Real Madrid, clinching a stunning La Liga and the Champions League double last season.
Modric’s deal expires in the June 2023 after signing a one-year extension this summer and until the former Ballon d’Or begins to show his age, Madrid will surely be looking to persuade him to extend.