On December 3rd, 2018, Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modrić, won one of the biggest awards in soccer, the Ballon d’Or. Modrić helped Croatia dominate in the World Cup and lead them to the finals, before suffering a heartbreaking loss to France 4-2. The team was amazing and had strength in every position. But Croatia’s defence were not skilled enough to stop them. Modrić received the award over Cristiano Ronaldo and world cup winner Antoine Griezmann.
Modrić has had to overcome huge odds in his life and it’s been amazing to see. He spent his childhood living in a small house in the mountains of Croatia, but after his grandfather was killed by Serbian forces, his family fled to Zadar, another part in Croatia. Throughout these struggles with moving, Modrić had a dream to become a professional soccer player early in his life. He would play soccer all around his refugee hotel and would even go to sleep with a soccer ball on him. When a coach of a Croatian club saw Modrić play soccer, he signed the boy for his club’s academy. During their training sessions, it was a normal occurrence that bomb shells would land and force the young players to run and find shelter.
Croatian club, Dinamo Zagreb, acquired him. A few great seasons later, Modrić was transferred to the Tottenham Hotspurs in England. At the English club, he was starting to get scouted by huge football teams due to his great performances. In the 2012 season, Spanish giants Real Madrid purchased him for $52 million, leading him to play alongside arguably the best player of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo. At Madrid, he has won many great rewards prior to the Ballon D’or including the Champions League four times and UEFA best player in Europe.
Modrić has helped on his national team as well. He is a playmaker midfielder and he is great at passing and dribbling. He helps set up other players on his team by making perfect passes which will put his teammate in a great attacking position. Before the 2018 World Cup, the farthest they went in the tournament was 3rd place in 1998, but they lost to France in the semi finals. But Luka has helped Croatia get back to glory with his smart playstyle.
Modrić story is inspirational–he went through a rough childhood but had a dream to become a professional soccer player. With his hard work, he made it happen. This should be an inspiration to anyone who live in a difficult environment and want to not just survive, but thrive.