Croatian footballing legend Robert Prosinecki believes Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is his nation’s greatest ever player.
The 32-year-old is currently enjoying a sixth season with Los Blancos and after a difficult start has become integral to the Spanish powerhouse’s recent success.
Prosinecki, who spent three years at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in the early 1990s, is in no doubt as to the best footballer the Croatia national team has produced.
“There is no way of looking at this in which he (Modric) doesn’t deserve the title as the best [Croatian] in history,” Prosinecki, 48, told sports daily Sportske Novosti.
“He has three Champions League titles, and in all three of them, he was one of Real Madrid’s most important players… On three occasions he was officially picked for the world XI. Even if we leave trophies aside, the way he plays and the way he dominates for Real Madrid is impressive.”
The modern Croatia team was formed in 1990 and had their golden period between 1994 and 1999, during which time Prosinecki helped the Vatreni to third-place at the 1998 World Cup.
When it was put to Prosinecki that Croatia have not achieved a similar level of success in Modric’s career, he responded: “I agree that this is the only weaker point in his career and therefore the 2018 World Cup in Russia is the last chance to leave a great mark with [Croatia].
“If we go far in Russia, I think Luka will undoubtedly be the biggest Croatian football player in history.”
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A graduate of Dinamo Zagreb’s esteemed academy, the Zadar-born midfielder played over 120 matches for his boyhood club before relocating to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.
During his time in England, Modric managed 17 goals and 27 assists across 160 matches in all competitions.
A standout Euro 2012, at which Croatia did not make it past the group stages, saw Real Madrid part with around £25m for his services and he has to date made 235 appearances (12 goals) playing a pivotal role in their last two European Cup triumphs.
Such is his status and importance to Los Blancos, the Croat received the No.10 jersey before this season. And since arriving in Spain, he’s made no fewer than 214 key passes, which at Real Madrid is only bettered by Isco (239) and Cristiano Ronaldo (227), while creating 18 goals.