What makes a world-class athlete? Some may say it’s the result that makes a top athlete, other say it’s the sponsorships, but honestly, we can only agree that those things mean nothing unless you have devotion and determination to succeed in what you love. And there is no better and recent example of that than the captain of Croatian national football team, winner of Golden Ball and Real Madrid star Luka Modrić. His name became searched throughout the world in the last few days since Croatia almost won the gold medals on the FIFA World Cup.
But what people found out about our captain is more than just a real Cinderella-like story, it’s a story that our children can learn from years and years from now. A story of modesty, determination, hard work and being humble – that’s what Luka Modrić is made of, and that’s why we are so proud. So, how does the story go?
He grew up in the village of Zaton Obrovački on the slopes of Velebit. Not far from Modrići, where his family originates, his grandfather, whom Luka was named after and who played a huge role in his upbringing was working on local roads which linked the Mediterranean and continental part of Croatia. Years later, more precisely on December 18, 1991, when a Serbian patrol slaughtered his grandfather while he was throwing goats and sheep in the throat. A small blond boy realized what it meant – a struggle for survival. In short, the Serbian paramilitary units were terrorizing Croats who failed to escape from that area. His grandfather, who was his greatest model, was taken away from him.
His family had to run away because of the fact that their village was burned. He was about to go to the first grade of primary school, he was happy to play football with his friends at the school playground, and overnight he ended up with a family in a Croatian village in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina to save the heads on their shoulders. Soon they came to Zadar and changed three addresses, from their relatives to Kolovare and Iž, where Luka snapped around for soccer coaches. During the Serbian attacks in Homeland War, while the grenades were falling, the fearless blond boy could not have been without the ball, so he played soccer with his peers in the lobby of the hotel. Or in the parking lot, if they would get a permit. Older employees of the Kolovare hotel circulate anecdotes that little Luke broke more windows with soccer balls than Serbian grenades in the attacks.
He began to train football in Zadar, where he lived with his family for years as a refugee and ended up in Dinamo in Zagreb alone, and soon it became clear that a star was born. In the years that became the star of Real Madrid, with which he had four consecutive years in Europe, the final confirmation of his values came to the World Championship, where he flourished and entered among the immortals.
We hope to see Luka doing miracles with younger generations to come in sports, and we know that there is no better inspiration for our kids to look up to.
Luka is at the top of the world and so are our proud hearts!