Almost a decade since he joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2012, Luka Modric will look to secure his fifth Champions League triumph in the Spanish capital when Los Blancos take on Liverpool in the final of Europe’s premier club competition later this month.
Having consistently delivered stellar performances during his four-season stint in north London, Real were more than willing to part with an estimated £30 million fee to secure the services of the Croatian midfielder.
That price tag looks a bargain in hindsight, to say the least.
A move to one of Europe’s elite clubs appeared inevitable for Modric during his final year at Spurs, when it became increasingly evident to many that he had outgrown his surroundings.
One of Modric’s finest outings in that period came in Tottenham’s 4-0 demolition of Liverpool in September 2011.
Stroking the ball around with sublime accuracy, there was an overwhelming sense of ease in everything that Modric did, dominating the likes of Jordan Henderson, Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam in the centre of the park.
It took just seven minutes for Modric to open the scoring at White Hart Lane, whipping the ball past a helpless Pepe Reina from 25 yards out, much to the delight of the home faithful.
The magnificent playmaker could have had a second before half-time, too, with Reina forced to make an excellent save to deny Modric his brace.
Every time Modric was in possession, anticipation around the stadium grew. Spurs fans knew just how much their star man was capable of and were desperate for him to commit his future to the club.
Unfortunately, for those with Tottenham loyalties, it was not to be.
Spurs ultimately went on to win the match easily, as Liverpool imploded. Both Adam and Martin Skrtel received their marching orders on a dire day for the Merseysiders.
Can you name these UEFA Champions League final stadiums?
Despite his side being in total control of the match, Modric’s work rate never dropped – a trait which remains noticeable today, even at the age of 36.
Wherever the ball was, Modric wasn’t far behind as he sprayed accurate passes to his colleagues from a variety of distances.
Modric was clearly a man loving his football, as you can see in the highlights package below.
Watch: Luka Modric was outrageously good for Spurs v Liverpool in 2011
The video is entitled: ‘The match that made Real Madrid buy Luka Modric’. While we can’t claim to have any inside knowledge of the transfer policy at the Bernabeu during this time period, Los Blancos chiefs must surely have been impressed with Modric’s masterclass here.
After all, he was a Los Blancos player less than a year later.
The only man to disrupt Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s monopoly over the Ballon d’Or since 2008 with his 2018 win, there’s no denying that Modric is one of the greatest players of his generation.
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