Luka Modric turns 35 this Wednesday, just before he starts his ninth season with Real Madrid.
The Croatian is now one step closer to fulfilling his dream of retiring at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, and he would do so as one of the most important players in the club’s modern history.
Born in Zadar, Croatia, on September 9, 1985, Modric made his professional club debut with Bosnia and Herzegovinian side HK Zrinjski Mostar and then returned to Croatia with Inter Zaprei before finally going back to his first club Dynamo Zagreb where he played four seasons.
In 2008, Modric moved to Tottenham, where he truly made a name from himself and drew attention from many clubs, including Real Madrid.
After some extremely difficult negotiations with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, Jose Mourinho finally brought Modric to Real Madrid for 42 million euros in 2012.
It was a tough start for the midfielder in the Spanish capital as he had difficulty breaking in the starting line-up, but things picked up and he ended the season with 53 appearances.
Carlo Ancelotti replaced Mourinho that summer and, in the 2013/14, season, Modric won his first Champions League under the Italian and will always be remembered as the player whose corner was met by Sergio Ramos to level that epic final in Lisbon against Atletico Madrid.
After an injury-blighted 2014/15 season, he was back to his best the following year as Zinedine Zidane took over as head coach and played Modric in the midfield alongside Casemiro and Toni Kroos.
This trio guided Los Blancos to three consecutive Champions League titles in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 – a feat which had never been achieved before.
On a personal level, the biggest year in his career came in 2018 when, after winning the European Cup again, he then led the Croatia side who finished runners-up in the World Cup in Russia.
He won the Ballon d’Or, finally breaking the duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Despite the return of Martin Odegaard, a player very similar to Modric, he will still play an important role for Real Madrid this season as Zidane still considers him his best architect in the midfield area.
With 343 matches and 17 titles at Real Madrid, Modric is still hungry for more success and is determined to fulfil the last big dream of his career: hanging up his boots at the club that turned him into a legend.