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While most of the attention is centered on Real Madrid’s star-studded attacking trio of Benzema, Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric has quietly led a midfield that pales in comparison to the days of Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso to remain in contention for the Champions League Cup as well as the La Liga title, just one point behind rivals FC Barcelona. Coming into the tournament, Modric has an average of a 91 percent pass success rate in all club-based European competitions [1] demonstrating a dead-eye accuracy that can split defenses apart. Although classified as a central midfielder, what separates Modric from the rest is his ability to operate in both offensive and defensive capacities. Not only is he renowned for his superb playmaking ability, ball control, and ability to dictate the flow of the game, Modric is also known for the way that he tracks back to win the ball from the opposition and prepare a counter-attack; an unusual combination of offensive and defensive firepower that has made him one of the most versatile players in the game today. Alongside the attacking mentalities of Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic, Modric’s capability to defend and supply the duo with scoring windows has made Croatia a dangerous dark horse coming into France.

Other Players:


Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović

Midfielders: Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitri Payet, Robbie Keane, Arda Turan

Defenders: Jordi Alba, Vlad Chiricheș, Ashley WilliamsTaulant Xhaka

Goalkeeper: The Gianluigi Buffon


Forwards: Eden HazardJakub Błaszczykowski

Midfielders: Mesut ÖzilYevhen KonoplyankaGökhan Inler, James MilnerBalázs Dzsudzsák


[1] “Luka Modric.” n.d. (accessed on 27 April 2016)

Meador, Jake. “What Luka Modric Does for Real Madrid.” The Inside Channel. n.d. (accessed on 27 April 2016)

Sharma, Rik. “Luka Modric is Real Madrid’s star behind the ‘BBC’ headlines… the former Tottenham man really makes the Spanish giants tick.” 27 April 2016. (accessed on 27 Apirl 2016)


Written By: Austin Tran and Chris Arora

How to cite this article: “Euro 2016 Key Players to Watch” Written by Austin Tran and Chris Arora (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)).