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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
May 31, 2014

#WorldCupRank: No. 32 Luka Modric

The versatility of Croatia's jewel will be key if they're to get anything out of their opening match against Brazil.

« Previous: No. 33 Marco Reus | Next: No. 31 Vincent Kompany »

No. 32 Luka Modric, Real Madrid/Croatia

Why he's ranked: Cool on the ball and seemingly always able to create time and space in which to weave his magic, the Croatian was a target of a host of top European clubs before Real Madrid paid 33 million pounds to sign him in August 2012. His physique might look a little frail, but this creative maestro is as strong as he is skillful.

Luka Modric is equally instrumental in the heart of midfield for both club and country.

Key stat: Modric led all Real Madrid players with 1,808 completed passes in 2013-14 La Liga season.

What the experts say: "He is the thermometer of every team he plays for, the man responsible for the temperature of the game going up or slowing down the rhythm." - Paulo Vinicius Coelho, ESPN Brazil

"The most impressive thing about Luka Modric is his adaptability -- he can play as a no. 10, from the left or in a deep-lying position. In that final role at Real Madrid this season, he demonstrated what an all-rounder he is too -- not just a pretty passer but also someone who can run, fight, scrap and tackle. However, he's still at his best with the ball; perhaps not the most incisive passer, but the man who will assist the assistor, and therefore perfect for Croatia's system." - Michael Cox

Other articles:
- Aleks Holiga: On Tomislav Basic, Modric's inspiration
- ESPN FC Blogs: Croatia
- The countdown: Our Top 50 players of the World Cup

« Previous: No. 33 Marco Reus | Next: No. 31 Vincent Kompany »

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