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Croatia’s player to watch at Euro 2008: Luka Modrić

Luka Modrić is a Croatian football midfielder born on September 9, 1985, who plays for Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb.

Modrić was born in Zadar where he started his professional career.Not many people believed he can succeed as a football player,especially not the coaches of Hajduk Split,where he was rejected because he wasn’t strong enough (according to them).In 2003 he came to Dinamo Zagreb,who immediately sent him on loan to Zrinjski Mostar,a club from the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the young age of 18, he became one of their best players and was also their player of the year in 2004. He (and not only him,but many other players who played there) later,on numerous occasions, stated that “someone who can play in the Bosnian league can play anywhere”, referring to the physical nature of the Premier League.In the next season (2004/2005) he went for another loan,to Inter ZapreÅ¡ić (who was holding the first place until Luka left – then finished season in the second place),but returned to Dinamo in mid-season.

Luka ModricSince than, he became the most important player on the team and captain as well. At Dinamo Zagreb he usually plays as playmaker, on the left side of the field. His natural position is central midfielder and he plays as playmaker solely due to his capabilities to cover that role as well and to leave room for designated defensive midfielders in Dinamo’s 4-2-3-1 formation.

He uses both feet to play, and his biggest strength is his swift offensive positioning without the ball. He’s also one of few playmakers able to contribute on the defensive end as well. His lack of physical power contradicts his shooting, which has a surprising amount of power that make his shots on goal mostly effective. However, he has plenty of stamina and is very aggressive in one-on-one battles. His timing is perfect, and his passes are accurate.

ModrićHe was part of national team from under-16 to the senior team.He made his senior international debut in a friendly match against Argentina on March 1, 2006 which Croatia won 3-2 and Luka was the best player on the field.He participated at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany, where he made two substitute appearances in the group matches against Japan and Australia. He scored his first international goal in Croatia’s 2-0 victory over Italy in a friendly match played on August 16, 2006 in Livorno.

Since Slaven Bilić became the head coach of Croatian national team,Luka is irreplaceable part of the team and even Bilić himself said that he is one of three the most important players of national squad (together with Niko Kovač who is captain and his brother Robert Kovač,who is the most important part of defence).In every game he played for Croatia so far,he was one of the best evalueted players, showing the most against the hardest opponents.

In 2008 Euro qualifying campaign he played all 12 matches,scoring once and making two assists.

What to expect from him? Well,he should be ‘The Man of the Match’ in every Croatia game and score at least two goals during the group stage.

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