The alarms are ringing and Luka Modric is operating as a result of quickly the bombs are coming. He’s eight years previous, carrying full equipment and boots, and he has a soccer beneath his arm. When he arrives on the underground shelter, the remainder of his team-mates jogging in behind him, he has to attend. Typically minutes, typically hours and infrequently in a single day, sleeping on the ground and staying till it was quiet, that means it was protected to go exterior. However Modric nonetheless had the ball.

“I used to be with it on a regular basis,” he tells AFP in an unique interview. “Once I went to the shelter I took it with me and I performed with my mates, with everybody. I organised video games. It meant every thing to me.”

The Croatian Battle of Independence pressured his household to depart their house simply exterior Zadar in 1991 however within the Resort Kolovare, the place they lived for seven years, Modric nonetheless performed.

“I broke so many home windows on the lodge and of individuals’s vehicles, everybody was all the time mad at me,” he says. “My father needed to pay for it,” he grins. “It was costly.”

Soccer provided an escape. “I keep in mind the concern,” he says. “We performed soccer and the alarms went off. It was regular.”


20 years later and nonetheless no one can get the ball off Modric, Actual Madrid’s dancing playmaker, who can twist away from an opponent or wriggle by them, a midfield metronome described by his Croatian team-mate Ivan Rakitic as “top-of-the-line ever in his place”.

Modric writes in his autobiography, ‘My Recreation’, which got here out final month, that he’s calm, obedient and “fears nothing”. He says is “shy however not afraid”.

Requested what his favorite factor is to do on a soccer pitch, he beams, figuring out the reply is surprising for somebody of his measurement. “Deal with!”


Recognition didn’t come routinely for the participant voted Actual Madrid’s worst signing of the season on the finish of his first 12 months. He confronted criticism coming by the ranks at Dinamo Zagreb too.

“There was all the time quite a lot of doubt round me – about my high quality, my type, my physique,” Modric says. “They stated I used to be too weak to make it to the highest nevertheless it did not have an effect on me. It motivated me extra.

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