The second leg of the Champions League semi-finals marks a jubilee for Luka Modric. When he takes to the pitch in Bayern’s Allianz Arena in Munich, he will record his 100th appearance for Real Madrid.
Modric has also been a stalwart player for Croatia, and his form is the main reason for optimism among the fans ahead of the World Cup, where the team is to meet Brazil, Cameroon and Mexico—and hopefully some other nations if they manage to progress from their group.
Croatia only joined UEFA and FIFA in 1992, a year after the nation gained independence from Yugoslavia, and started competing in 1994. However, since that the country has had more than a fair share of extraordinary midfielders and the national team has been punching above their weight for most of the 20 years on the big stage.
So where does the 28-year-old Modric rank so far among his nation’s best? Over the following pages are 10 best Croatian midfielders, ranked by their impact in that chequered shirt.