Luka Modric has blown away all expectations in what has been a remarkable career for a player who was once considered to be too ‘lightweight’ for the Premier League.
This summer the classy midfielder will celebrate a notable anniversary – 10 years since he moved to Real Madrid from Tottenham for £30m.
In that decade he has cemented himself as one of the world’s best footballers and possesses a trophy collection that very few can compare to.
Luka Modric has enjoyed much success during his near 10-year spell at Real Madrid
Modric has gone on to become one of the world’s best (pictured winning the 2018 Ballon d’Or)
He has won an incredible four Champions League winners medals – three of which were in succession, two LaLiga titles, three UEFA Super Cups, three Club World Cups, one Copa del Rey and four Spanish Super Cups.
In 2018, he also led Croatia to their first World Cup final and despite a 4-1 defeat, he was handed the award for the best player at the tournament.
It was in the same year that he broke Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s stranglehold on the Ballon d’Or and still to this day he is the only player other than legendary duo to lift the prestigious trophy since Kaka in 2007.
Modric is now 36-years-old, and is in the final year of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Although he has plenty to look back at on during his time at the club, he is still looking forward and wants to achieve more success with Los Blancos before his time in the white shirt comes to an end.
Modric has won four Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles during his time at Real Madrid
He also inspired Croatia to reach their first ever World Cup final back in the summer of 2018
Modric told Sportsmail while promoting the new sports social app Sportening: ‘As I approach ten years at Real Madrid what I can say?
‘Ten amazing years, a dream, I achieved a lot – maybe even more than I expected but I still want to continue achieving big things at Madrid.
‘I’m never satisfied with what I did. I always want more and hopefully in the future I will achieve some big things again with Real Madrid as long as I am at the club.’
There is great promise for Real Madrid in the 2021-22 campaign, in what is perhaps the most unusual LaLiga season during his time at the club.
Along with El Clasico rivals Barcelona and Atletico, all three clubs have occupied the top positions in LaLiga in varying order since Modric’s arrival at the club.
This season, though, Real Madrid sit six points ahead of Sevilla after 23 games, with Real Betis occupying third. Barcelona who are in transition with their financial struggles are fourth – 15 points down on their rivals, while reigning champions Atletico are out of the Champions League places in fifth.
Madrid were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao but there are still hopes that they can win their 14th Champions League trophy.
Modric had a tough start at Tottenham but quickly became one of their most important players
Modric has been linked with a move away from Real Madrid in recent seasons to various clubs in Premier League and Serie A.
But the player who is widely regarded as the best Croatian footballer in history is still an integral part to Carlo Ancelotti’s side, making 26 appearances this season and playing at a top standard.
‘There’s no secret’ to why he continues playing at the highest level, Modric admits. ‘It’s all natural. I’m enjoying what I’m doing, I love football. Of course I’m working on myself, I take care of myself on a daily basis. I live for football and I think those are the reasons I feel good.
‘How long I have? I don’t know it’s difficult to say, what I’m doing is going week by week, month by month, year by year and we’ll see how I feel.
‘Time will tell how long it will take but I don’t put any limits (to how long he can play), I’m just enjoying at the moment and hopefully it will continue a few more years.’
Modric told Sportsmail of ex-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp’s importance to his career
The Modric everyone knows today has come a long way since the player that joined Tottenham from Dinamo Zagreb back in 2008 for £16.5m.
Signed by Juande Ramos, Modric made a slow start at White Hart Lane as he suffered from a knee injury early during his tenure and was labelled as ‘light-weight’ by various sections of the media.
This coincided with his poor form, leading to concerns both for himself and then Croatia national team head coach Slaven Bilic.
Modric spent his early days at a position of number 10, before being shifted to the left wing before his Tottenham career turned around following the appointment of Harry Redknapp.
Redknapp recognised Modric’s value to his side and planned to shape his new team around the Croatian playmaker, giving him a more familiar role as a central or left-sided midfielder allowing him to have more influence on the team and make the most of his talents.
One of the first times his talent shone through at Spurs was during their epic 4-4 draw with the Gunners in 2008.
‘Harry Redknapp played an important role in my career,’ Modric said. ‘He was almost there since the beginning when I joined Spurs – he joined us after seven or eight games.
‘He had great influence on us, on our team, our playing style and me. He gave me a freedom, he showed me the trust from the beginning which is always important for the young players.
‘He was a great coach, great manager, very nice person. I had great relationship with him, he was very important for me.’
Modric has enjoyed success in the game that very few other players could even dream of
Modric spoke to Sportsmail as part of his partnership with news sports app Sportening
By the 2010-11 season, Redknapp described Modric as a player who could play for any team in the world and he was attracting heavy interest.
Chelsea famously had a number of bids rejected by Daniel Levy for the midfielder, but Tottenham couldn’t do anything to stop the Croatian from joining Real Madrid when they came calling in August 2012.
Modric though still says he has ‘amazing memories’ of the time he had at Tottenham and believes they played an important part for his development into the player he has since become at Real Madrid.
‘My time at Spurs was great for years I enjoyed a lot,’ he said. ‘For me it was a huge step to come to the Premier League to such a big club as Spurs from Dinamo Zagreb.
‘I improved there a lot as a player because playing in the Premier League every year you learn something new. Helping to improve to get better and I only have positive memories.
Modric still has his eyes set on more success with Real Madrid over the coming years
‘Great memories from my time at Spurs, my time with the fans we had a great connection with everyone involved in the club. Amazing memories, that step, that period at Spurs helped me for the future.’
Despite speculation over his future and with his contract running up in the summer, Modric admits he has never considered returning to England and is hoping for more success at the Santiago Bernabeu.
‘Since I left England and joined Real Madrid my only focus was Real Madrid. I never thought about anything else.
‘I was only focused on Real Madrid and to do my best in the best club in the world.’
Luka Modric was speaking on behalf of Sportening, a new social app for sports fans which has launched in the United Kingdom.
Sportening provides fans with a unique content stream on their favourite teams and players, allowing them to view statistics and scores, rate players after matches, and view breaking news on their favourite teams – all of which they can discuss in specific team and topic chat rooms with like-minded fans from around the world.