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Luka Modrić
Modrić lining up for a match against Chelsea.
Personal information
Date of birth 9 September 1985 (1985-09-09) (age 24)
Place of birth Zadar, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8+12 in)
Playing position Attacking Midfielder, Winger
Club information
Current club Tottenham Hotspur
Number 14
Youth career
2002–2003 Dinamo Zagreb
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2008 Dinamo Zagreb 112 (31)
2003–2004 Zrinjski Mostar (loan) 22 (8)
2004–2005 Inter Zaprešić (loan) 18 (4)
2008– Tottenham Hotspur 50 (5)
National team
2001 Croatia U-15 2 (0)
2001 Croatia U-17 2 (0)
2003 Croatia U-18 7 (0)
2003–2004 Croatia U-19 11 (1)
2004–2005 Croatia U-21 15 (2)
2006– Croatia 39 (7)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:27, 16 March 2010 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:28, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈluːka ˈmɔːdritɕ], born 9 September 1985 in Zadar) is a Croatian football midfielder who currently plays for Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League and for the Croatian national team. He plays as an attacking central or left wing midfielder, where he demonstrates his acceleration, range of passing, vision and fantastic technique.

Modrić's childhood coincided with the Croatian War of Independence. After showing promise in hometown club Zadar's youth team, he was signed by Dinamo Zagreb as a teenager in 2002. His professional career began with loan spells at Zrinjski Mostar and Inter Zaprešić.[1] While he was at Dinamo Zagreb, they won three consecutive league titles[2] and several domestic cups, with Modrić named Prva HNL "Player of the Year" in 2007.[3]

Contents

Club career

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Early years

During the Croatian War of Independence, Modrić and his family lived in the town of Zaton but they were forced to flee the area when he was 6 years old. His father was in the army, and he lost his grandfather in the fighting while his family were living in a hotel in Zadar. It was against this difficult backdrop that Modrić began playing football. When his father returned from the army, he used the little money the family had to enrol his son in the local sporting academy. After displaying some talent, Luka signed with Dinamo Zagreb as a 17 year old in 2002.[1]

After a season with Dinamo Zagreb's youth side, he was loaned out in 2003 to Zrinjski Mostar in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During this spell, he established his versatile style of play and became the Bosnian League Player of the Year while still only 18 years old.[4] He later claimed that "someone who can play in the Bosnian league can play anywhere", referring to its physical nature.[4] The following year, he was again loaned out, this time to Inter Zaprešić in his home country. He spent one season with them, helping them earn promotion to the Croatian first league[5] and was awarded the Croatian Football Hope of the Year award in 2004.[6] He returned to Dinamo Zagreb in 2005.[4]

Dinamo Zagreb

In 2005, Modrić signed his first long-term contract with Dinamo through to 2015. After a goal-less first season, he managed to secure a place in Dinamo's first team, contributing 7 goals in 31 matches to help win the league.[7] During this time, Modrić rapidly established his role as playmaker or designated left winger in the team's 4-2-3-1 formation.

In the 2006-07 season, Dinamo again won the league with Modrić making a similar contribution [7], acknowledged by the Prva HNL Player of the Year award. The following season, he led Dinamo's attempt to qualify for the UEFA cup. In the final play-off stage, Modrić converted a penalty in the away fixture against AFC Ajax in a game that ended 1-1 after normal time. Dinamo then went on to win the game 3-2 in extra time after a brace from teammate Mario Mandžukić secured their win on away goals.[8] However, Dinamo Zagreb still failed to advance beyond the group stage.

At his last home game with Dinamo at Maksimir Stadium, Modrić was given a standing ovation and fans held up supportive banners.[9][10] He finished his fantastic six year tenure at Dinamo with a tally of 31 goals and 29 assists in four seasons[11], contributing most notably in the 2007-08 season when Dinamo became champions by a 28 point margin and won the Croatian cup in the same year.

Tottenham Hotspur

2008–09 season

Modrić agreed transfer terms with Tottenham Hotspur on 26 April 2008. He was the first of many summer signings for coach Juande Ramos, and also the Premier League's first summer transfer.[12] After signing a 6 year contract from summer 2008,[13] Tottenham confirmed that the total fee paid was £16.5 million, equalling the club's record fee set by Darren Bent's move in 2007.[14]

Modrić made his debut for Tottenham on 28 July 2008 in a pre-season friendly against Norwich City. He played 45 minutes at Carrow Road during the 5-1 victory.[15] His competitive debut was on 16 August in the 2-1 defeat by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in Spurs' first match of the 2008-09 Premier League season.[16]

Initially, Spurs used him as a deep-lying playmaker in central midfield, usually alongside Jermaine Jenas, to utilise his passing range, vision and creativity to optimum effect. However, then-manager Juande Ramos wasted his talents, deploying him in an extremely deep defensive midfield role which his slight frame was not physically suited to. For his former club and his country, his greatest success had come in a more advanced, attacking left-sided role. Playing him out of position limited his influence, and was an instance of the poor managerial judgement which led to Ramos' sacking and Tottenham's terrible start to the season. Modrić also suffered from a niggling knee injury early in his Spurs career and he had to endure being labelled as a "light-weight" by sections of the media. [17]. This coincided with his poor form, knocking his confidence and making him even less effective, leading to concerns both for himself and Croatia manager Slaven Bilić.[18]

However, with the appointment of current Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, Modrić was given a more familiar advanced attacking role as a central or left-sided midfielder, which had been a problem position for Tottenham in the past. In the first few months of the 2008-2009 season until the 2009 January transfer window, Modrić assumed a far more advanced role as a second striker behind one of Tottenham's two recognised first-team strikers, Roman Pavlyuchenko or Darren Bent. This allowed Modric to have a far more attacking influence on the team and also utilise his footballing brain more productively, as in the thrilling 4-4 draw with arch rivals Arsenal on 26 October 2008[19]. Modrić's impact in this position was well demonstrated with Tottenham's 4th and equalising goal when he collected the ball on his chest from Tom Huddlestone, and after a few controlled touches, unleashed a long-range half-volley which, courtesy of a deflection, hit the post and set up Aaron Lennon for a tap-in. Since this performance, his form improved considerably for Spurs, coinciding with his club's vastly improved form in the league. Redknapp recognised Modrić's value to his side, setting out plans to shape his new team around the Croatian playmaker[20].

During the January 2009 transfer window, Tottenham re-signed strikers Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane, allowing Modrić to return to midfield while retaining his advanced attacking role as a roaming left-sided midfielder. Spurs' other major signing, tough-tackling Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios, bolstered Spurs' central midfield and gave Modrić more freedom in attack, while Palacios operated as a more defensive midfielder. Using him in his former position from Dinamo Zagreb days made him even more effective with inspirational performances against Hull City[21], Stoke[22] and most notably, a match-winning performance against Chelsea.[23]

Modrić scored his first Tottenham goal in a 2-2 draw against Spartak Moscow during the UEFA Cup group stages on the 18 December 2008.[24] He scored his first Premier League goal against Newcastle United in Spurs' next match, three days later.[25]

2009–10 season

Ahead of the 2009-10 season, ex-Spurs captain Jamie Redknapp said of Modrić "[He's] a hell of a player and a manager’s dream, so I am told. He trains like a demon and never complains, will work with and without the ball on the field and can beat a defender with a trick or with a pass. He could get into any team in the top four and he’ll be even better this season."[26]

On 29 August 2009, during Tottenham's 2-1 win over Birmingham City, Modrić was taken off injured with a suspected calf injury.[27] The following day it was confirmed that Modrić had broken his leg, sustaining a fracture to his right fibula and was expected to be out for six weeks. [28] However, on 31 October 2009 Spurs' manager Harry Redknapp announced a delay to Modrić's return.[29] Modric finally returned to training after numerous delays on 8 December in a match against Grays Athletic.[30]. He made his first appearance in the Premiership for four months in the London derby against West Ham United which Spurs won 2-0, with Modric making a telling contribution by scoring with the leg he broke in the 11th minute.

International career

Modrić's first international experience came at youth level, playing for the Croatian U-17, U-19 and under-21 teams.[31]

He made his senior international debut in a friendly victory against Argentina on 1 March 2006 in Basel, Switzerland.[4] At the 2006 World Cup, he made two substitute appearances in the group fixtures against Japan and Australia.

With the appointment of new manager Slaven Bilić, Modrić earned greater recognition at international level, scoring his first goal in Croatia's 2-0 friendly win over Italy on 16 August 2006 in Livorno. His performances ensured a regular place in the international side, and he gave an impressive showing in Croatia's successful Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, which recorded home and away victories against England.

Much was expected of the young midfielder often dubbed "the Croatian Cruyff".[32] Modrić scored Croatia's first goal of Euro 2008, converting a penalty in the fourth minute of their 1-0 victory against Austria on 8 June 2008.[33] It was the fastest penalty ever awarded and scored in European Championship history.[34] He continued to impress at the tournament and was named UEFA Man of the Match in their next game when Croatia defeated one of the pre-tournament favorites and eventual finalists Germany.[35][36]

In the quarter-final against Turkey, Modrić took advantage of a mistake by veteran Turkish goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber, and crossed to teammate Ivan Klasnić for the first goal of the game with only a minute remaining of extra time. However, Semih Şentürk equalised for Turkey almost immediately. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Modrić failed to score the first penalty with his off-target kick. Turkey went on to win the shootout 3-1.[37] At the end of the competition, Modrić was included in the UEFA Team of the Tournament, becoming only the second Croatian to ever achieve this honour, the first being Davor Šuker.[38]

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
01. 16 August 2006 Stadio Armando Picchi, Livorno, Italy  Italy
0 – 2
0 – 2
Friendly
02. 7 October 2006 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Andorra
7 – 0
7 – 0
Euro 2008 qualifying
03. 7 February 2007 Kantrida, Rijeka, Croatia  Norway
2 – 0
2 – 1
Friendly
04. 8 June 2008 Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna, Austria  Austria
0 – 1
0 – 1
Euro 2008
05. 6 September 2008 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Kazakhstan
2 – 0
3 – 0
2010 World Cup qualifying
06. 15 October 2008 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Andorra
3 – 0
4 – 0
2010 World Cup qualifying
07. 6 June 2009 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Ukraine
2 – 2
2 – 2
2010 World Cup qualifying

Style of play

"Not only is he a very hard worker, he has a good brain and he provided some calmness and composure to the midfield. His passing was neat and his contribution was outstanding. He was not only winning the ball, he was passing well. We thought that he was very influential. He did not just work hard, he made the other people play well around him."

Gérard Houllier, UEFA Technical Team[35]

Modrić can play with both feet, and combines this with his swift offensive positioning off the ball.[39] His complex game brought him consistant success in the Croatian first division, as recognised when he was signed by Tottenham Hotspur in July 2008. His best role is as a central playmaker and during his time at Dinamo Zagreb, he proved his ability to play as a attacking midfielder, especially on his preferred left wing.[39] In the Croatian national squad, Modrić linked up well with Niko Kovač, also demonstrating his defensive ability. Croatian team manager Bilić has utilised Modrić's flexibility to good effect when experimenting with the team formation.[40] Most notably, Modrić formed a "telepathic understanding" with Eduardo[41] when they played together at Dinamo, Inter Zaprešić and the national team.[42]

Honours

Individual

Club

Dinamo Zagreb

Tottenham Hotspur

References

  1. ^ a b "Modric War Hell". News Of The World. http://blogs.notw.co.uk/sport/2008/06/modric-war-hell.html. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  2. ^ Bojan Puric, Boris Herceg and Igor Kramarsic. "Croatia - List of Champions". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. http://www.rsssf.com/tablesk/kroachamp.html. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  3. ^ "Modric HNL’s Footballer Of The Year". Javno. 2007-12-21. http://www.javno.com/en/sports/clanak.php?id=108728. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Modric in demand". The World Game. 2008-01-02. http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/home/index.php?pid=st&cid=103104. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  5. ^ Brunislav Matasovic. "Croatia - 2002/03". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. http://www.rsssf.com/tablesk/kroa03.html. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  6. ^ "Modric keen to earn his Spurs". Teamtalk. http://www.teamtalk.com/football/story/0,16368,1784_3550863,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  7. ^ a b "Player - Luka Modric". National Football Teams. http://www.national-football-teams.com/v2/player.php?id=13686. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  8. ^ Stuart Condie (2007-10-05). "Ajax cleaned up by Dinamo". AdelaideNow. http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,22535165-12428,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  9. ^ "Modric’s Last Dance at Maksimir Stadium". Javno. 2007-12-06. http://www.javno.com/en/sports/clanak.php?id=104378. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  10. ^ Mario (2008-05-11). "Dinamo Dominate, Modric Bids Farewell". World Cup blog. http://croatia.worldcupblog.org/croatia/dinamo-dominate-modric-bids-farewell.html. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  11. ^ "Luka Modric - statistika (Croatian)". Hrvatska Nogometna Liga. http://www.1hnl.net/igrac.php?id=682. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  12. ^ "Spurs sign Croatian star Modric". BBC Sport. 2008-04-26. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/t/tottenham_hotspur/7368463.stm. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  13. ^ "Player Transfer - Luka Modric". TottenhamHotspur.com. 2008-04-29. http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/articles/playertransferlukamodric290408.html. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  14. ^ "Spurs equal record fee for Modric". BBC Sport. 2008-04-29. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/t/tottenham_hotspur/7373163.stm. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  15. ^ "Norwich v Tottenham: Latest". EDP24 Sport. 2008-07-28. http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/sport/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=Sport&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=Sport&itemid=NOED28%20Jul%202008%2019%3A41%3A54%3A060. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  16. ^ Lyon, Sam (2008-08-16). "Middlesbrough 2-1 Tottenham". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/7551168.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  17. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/tottenham/3853343/Luka-Modric-puts-war-years-behind-him-at-Spurs.html
  18. ^ http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/article1792790.ece
  19. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/7684610.stm
  20. ^ http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/football/article.html?Ill_build_Spurs_team_around_Modric_and_Palacios,_insists_Redknapp&in_article_id=508217&in_page_id=43
  21. ^ Jamie Lillywhite (23 February 2009). "Hull 1-2 Tottenham". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/7885857.stm. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  22. ^ Neil Ashton (28 January 2009). "Tottenham 3 Stoke 1: Magical Modric sets Spurs up for vital victory.". Daily Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1130086/Tottenham-3-Stoke-1-Magical-Modric-sets-Spurs-vital-victory.html. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  23. ^ Sam Lyon (21 March 2009). "Tottenham 1-0 Chelsea". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_prem/7937098.stm. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  24. ^ Ian Hughes (18 December 2008). "Tottenham 2-2 Spartak Moscow". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/7775427.stm. Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  25. ^ Saj Chowdhury (21 December 2008). "Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/7775574.stm. Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  26. ^ Jamie Redknapp (10 August 2009). "Jamie Redknapp's 10 to watch: The players who will light up the Premier League this season". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1205422/Jamie-Redknapps-10-watch-The-players-light-Premier-League-season.html?ITO=1490. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  27. ^ Sam Lyon (29 August 2009). "Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8224017.stm. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  28. ^ "Spurs suffer Modric injury blow.". BBC Sport. 30 August 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/t/tottenham_hotspur/8229223.stm. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  29. ^ LUKA MODRIC COMEBACK SNAG
  30. ^ http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/articles/lukasback081209.html
  31. ^ "Kranjcar chases dream". FIFA.com. 2006-04-13. http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/archive/germany2006/news/newsid=25057.html. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  32. ^ "Ten of the best". uefa.com. 2008-06-30. http://www.uefa.com/magazine/news/kind=268435456/newsid=729280.html. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  33. ^ Ian, Hughes (2008-06-08). "Austria 0-1 Croatia". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2008/7363048.stm. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  34. ^ Trevor Haylett (2008-06-08). "Modrić penalty undoes gutsy Austria". uefa.com. http://www.euro2008.uefa.com/tournament/matches/match=300684/index.html. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  35. ^ a b "Modrić and Croatia rise to occasion". uefa/euro2008.com. http://www.euro2008.uefa.com/news/kind=1/newsid=715015.html. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  36. ^ Beckenbauer baffled by woeful Germany
  37. ^ Euro 2008: Croatia 1-1 Turkey (1-3 penalties)
  38. ^ Modrić in EURO's best team
  39. ^ a b "Modrić the key man for Bilić". FIFA.com. http://www.fifa.com/confederationscup/news/newsid=798144.html. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  40. ^ Croatia need Modrić confidence to spread
  41. ^ Could tonights game decide the destination for Modrić?
  42. ^ Could Modrić be reunited with Eduardo?

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Croatia Eduardo da Silva
Prva HNL Player of the Year
2007
Succeeded by
Croatia

Mario Mandžukić



Simple English

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