Luka Modric was one of the stars of the last World Cup, helping to lead Croatia (opens in a new tab) to the finale with a series of composed performances.
Alongside Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic in the heart of the midfield, he exercised masterful control over the tempo of the match.
His quality shone as Croatia topped their group with wins over Nigeria (opens in a new tab)Iceland (opens in a new tab) and Argentina (opens in a new tab).
In the round of 16, Denmark (opens in a new tab) and Russia (opens in a new tab) were both beaten on penalties ahead of Mario Mandzukic’s dramatic extra-time winner against England (opens in a new tab).
Throughout this impressive run, Modric made his team work, always showing the ball, finding the right pass and setting the standard.
He also contributed to a few vital goals and showed great bravery from the penalty spot when called upon.
Although he saw Kasper Schmeichel save his penalty late in extra time, he still stepped up the penalty shootout and found the net.
Modric did the same against Russia in the quarter-finals, albeit with good fortune as Igor Akinfeev placed his effort against the post but returned from the opposite side of the goal.
Although the midfielder is far from perfect on penalties, scoring eight of the 11 he has taken in the game for Croatia, he hasn’t made any mistakes with the last four.
He has already confirmed his intention to retire from international football after the Qatar World Cup, which will be his last major tournament.
Modric is hoping to come out on top but will struggle to replicate the success he enjoyed four years ago.
Although Croatia lost 4-2 to France (opens in a new tab) in the final, he was awarded the Golden Ball for best player ahead of Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann.
Boosted by even more Champions League glory with Real Madrid (opens in a new tab)he also became the first player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d’Or since 2007.