Luka Modric has been central to Croatia’s run to the final of World Cup 2018.
England was in the midst of a dream run. They could almost bask in the World Cup glory already. Nobody expected them to reach the semi-finals, so when they did, the overwhelming sentiments gradually blended into exaggeration. ‘It’s coming home.’
Then they met Luka Modric.
Croatia suffered an early setback when Kieran Trippier hurled in a belter of a free-kick. Croatia was down. The dream of a World Cup final looked blurred. England were all over them. Croatia needed a fighter.
Enters Luka Modric.
Because he’s been there. He’s been there when his grandfather was shot when he was six. He’s been there when his house was burned down in a war and he became a refugee. He’s been there when grenades blew over his head and killed many civilians throughout his entire childhood.
And that is why, when Croatia needed a fighter to lead an inspirational comeback for a place in the World Cup final, he stepped up. Because he knows.
He’s been there.
Luka Modric has been the most pivotal member of the Real Madrid squad in the last few years. But playing alongside such illustrious players often overshadowed the contributions Modric made. Still, Real Madrid fans sure do value Luka’s extraordinary talent and his importance at the club.
Modric is a naturally passionate player, and it shows. He is everywhere. He wants the ball all the time, yet doesn’t come across as a dictating presence. He is a simple player. He makes passes, and it almost feels like he was enabled with supreme intelligence to oversee the next ones. For Luka Modric, It is not about making that one pass which makes the crowd goes ‘ooh!’. All he wants to do, is instil sense and clarity to the game-play of the team.
And that might be the reason why the 60,000 odd people sitting in the stadium, and millions watching the match on television doesn’t notice it at once. Modric doesn’t play to flatter. He does what is needed to be done.
Against Russia, he struggled. But he continued to do the dirty job. He defended until his lungs ran out. Because Modric, even when he’s worked up as Croatia failed in another attack, isn’t accustomed to giving up. He took up football because he enjoyed it in a city marred with war. And in the game with Russia, he was at war again. This time, with his own body.
As we move towards the digital age, our attention spans are becoming increasingly lower. The world is now dominated by push-notifications. Long, rich features are scarcely enjoyed in comparison. Things like dribbles and step-overs and nutmegs and bicycles, goal videos and skill GIFs are all our go-to push notifications.
Then comes Luka Modric – a long, rich feature. We appreciate the effort.
But that’s it.
But as Luka Modric stepped up for Croatia, we are finally recognising that the small things Luka Modric does on a football pitch lead to great results for his team. And doesn’t that exactly define the Croatian midfielder?
A small man who does great things.