Sport The tragedy behind the man who wants to break England’s hearts: How Croatian superstar Luka Modric’s grandfather was executed by Serbian rebels before the youngster fled the horror of Balkans War

22:07  10 july  2018
22:07  10 july  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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The tragedy behind the man who wants to break England ’ s hearts : How Croatian superstar Luka Modric ’ s grandfather was executed by Serbian rebels before the youngster fled the horror of Balkans War .

Barney Ronay. Luka Modric ’ s departure from England felt insufficiently mourned, yet his They do, though, have Modric , a player so skilled and diligent, he makes every other component in that superstar collective function a little better, and who is , best of all, impossible not to love just a little bit.

a group of people watching a football game: Modric (pictured with teammates during a Croatia training session at Luzhniki Stadium) has already scored twice for his nation at this World Cup© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Modric (pictured with teammates during a Croatia training session at Luzhniki Stadium) has already scored twice for his nation at this World Cup The England squad are 24 hours away from the biggest match of their lives but there is one man, in particular, standing in the way of their first World Cup final since 1966 - Luka Modric.

The Croatian captain and talisman is one of the most talented midfielders in the world and will be a key player in Moscow tomorrow night.

a person standing in a field: Modric, 32, fled war-torn Croatia after his home was burned down and his grandfather was killed by Serbian rebels© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Modric, 32, fled war-torn Croatia after his home was burned down and his grandfather was killed by Serbian rebels But at one point in his life, the glittering lights of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium would have felt like a dream.

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LUKA Modric had to overcome serious adversity before making it in the professional game. On December 8, 1991, during the Yugoslav Wars , violent Serbian militia stormed Modrici, a small village near the Velebit mountains in northern Dalmatia and reigned terror against Croatian families who

Luka Modrić ( Croatian pronunciation: [ lû ː ka mǒːdritɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and is the captain of

Modric, 32, fled war-torn Croatia after his home was burned down and his grandfather was killed by Serbian rebels.

As he and his family were forced to become refugees, he turned to football as a means of escapism.

a group of football players on a field: Coach Slaven Bilic with Modric during a training session on the eve of their match against Germany on June 11, 2008© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Coach Slaven Bilic with Modric during a training session on the eve of their match against Germany on June 11, 2008 The midfielder, arguably the finest player in this current Croatia team, spent four years in England with Tottenham prior to joining Real Madrid in 2012.

Modric was made a refugee at the age of six© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Modric was made a refugee at the age of six Modric has already scored twice for his nation at this World Cup, while he also converted each of his penalties in their two shoot-out successes.

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The Balkans War dragged on through the 1990 s , with Croatia achieving independence in 1995. Modric ' s father fought in the Croatian Army; Modric ' s grandfather Luka was killed in cold blood by Serb rebels in the hills by his farm in December 1991, per Aleksandar Holiga for the Guardian .

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After bursting onto the scene at Dinamo Zagreb and then Tottenham, Modric set Europe alight at Real Madrid - becoming a pivotal member of a side which won four Champions League titles.

a group of football players on a field: Modric celebrates with his family following his team's victory in the World Cup Quarter Final match between Russia and Croatia© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Modric celebrates with his family following his team's victory in the World Cup Quarter Final match between Russia and Croatia Modric was born in Zadar, Croatia – then Yugoslavia – on September 9, 1985.

Croatia is mercilessly trolling England and English soccer after knocking them out of the World Cup in heartbreaking fashion

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Born in 1985 in the rural settlement of Modrici, a tiny suburb on the slopes of the Velebit Mountains, Luka Modrić ’ s childhood was anything but traditional. As luck would have it, Luka ’ s home region would become one of the epicentres of the war and his father would be forced to join the Croatian

He was made a refugee at the age of six during the Balkan conflict after his grandfather, a civilian, was killed by ethnic Serb rebels close to his home.

Modric and his family moved to the nearby coastal town of Zadar and had to stay in a hotel, where they faced yet more grenades and bullets as conflict raged.

But he was still able to practise his skills every day - much to the dismay of the hotel staff.

A spokesman for the Kolovare Hotel once said: 'He had broken more glass on the hotel windows than what the bombs had hit. He was playing non-stop football all around the hotel halls.'

The 32-year-old married Vanja Bosnic in May 2010 in Zagreb, Croatia and the couple have three children - Ivano, born on June 6, 2010, Ema, born on April, 25, 2013 and Sofia, born on October 2, 2017.

a group of young men playing a game of football: Modric with his son Ivano, his daughter Ema (left), and teammate Ivan Rakitic© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Modric with his son Ivano, his daughter Ema (left), and teammate Ivan Rakitic This is only Croatia's second appearance in the World Cup knockout rounds, having been part of Yugoslavia before gaining independence in 1991.

Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2011, Modric said: 'You have to understand something about Croatian people. After everything that has happened, after the war, we are stronger, tougher.

Croatia star's parting shot at England

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'What we’ve been through was not easy. The war made us stronger. We are not easy people to break. It’s hard to break us. And there is a determination to show that. To show that we can succeed.

a group of people sitting posing for the camera: The 32-year-old married Vanja Bosnic in May 2010 in Zagreb, Croatia and the couple have three children - Ivano, Ema and Sofia© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The 32-year-old married Vanja Bosnic in May 2010 in Zagreb, Croatia and the couple have three children - Ivano, Ema and Sofia ‘My father fought for me to play football. He never had to make me shinpads but it was a lot of money to send to me to a soccer school. And to provide boots and things. He still works in the military, as an aircraft technician. He always tried to find ways to support me with my football.

‘So when people said I wouldn’t be able to cope in the Premier League it just gave me an extra incentive. I wanted to prove them wrong and now, I think, they have to admit they were wrong.’

a man with a football ball on a field: After bursting onto the scene at Dinamo Zagreb and then Tottenham, Modric set Europe alight at Real Madrid - becoming a pivotal member of a side which won four Champions League titles© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited After bursting onto the scene at Dinamo Zagreb and then Tottenham, Modric set Europe alight at Real Madrid - becoming a pivotal member of a side which won four Champions League titles

Some 20 years ago, in France, a Croatian team featuring Davor Suker, Slaven Bilic and Zvonimir Boban made the last four of the competition only to be beaten by the hosts, and eventual winners, despite taking the lead.

This is the first time they have reached the knock-out phase since - and they had to qualify for Russia via the play-offs - and Modric believes their good fortune is long overdue.

He said: 'It makes us extremely proud and happy that after 20 years we've reached the semi-final of a World Cup.

'We took the difficult route, we were unlucky in previous major tournaments, particularly at Euros, but now we are collecting those debts at the World Cup this year.

'Hopefully we will go a step further than in 1998. We have all of the requisites for that - we have a great team, backroom staff, coach, and I hope we will be able to make that extra step to reach the final.'

Rakitic: I'll get a forehead tattoo if Croatia win World Cup .
Zlatko Dalic's side are one victory away from making history as they prepare to take on France in Sunday's finalIvan Rakitic has joked he will get a tattoo on his forehead if Croatia win the World Cup.

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