On Monday morning (AEST), Modric will lead out his beloved Croatia at the FIFA World Cup final - the beginning of the end of a journey that has its origins in the war-ravaged streets of Zaton Obrovacki 27 years-ago.
The year is 1991 a six year-old, Modric and his family are forced to flee the small village as refugees after their grandfather was executed by Serbian Forces during the Croatian war of independence. Modric’s is a childhood plagued by conflict, set against the backdrop of grenades and artillery fire.
The young, softly-spoken boy who sought refuge in football from the daily perils of war-torn life, had his own personal battle, fighting to prove his worth to coaches who thought he was ‘too weak and too shy’ to make it.
Tomislav Bašić, hailed by Modric as his ‘sporting father’ decided to take a chance on the Real Madrid star, mentoring him before facilitating his move to Dynamo Zagreb as a 16 year-old.
A born fighter, Modric took his opportunity and never let go, eventually catching the eye of Tottenham Hotspur before moving to current club Real Madrid.
'You have to understand something about Croatian people. After everything that has happened, after the war, we are stronger, tougher," Modric told the Daily Mail.
'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."
France may be the firm favourite heading into the final, but this Croatia team lead by its inspirational leader won't go down without a fight.