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On This Day in 2008: Spurs agree deal to sign Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb
The Croatian midfielder helped Spurs to break into the top four after signing 14 years ago.
Tottenham signalled their intentions by agreeing a £16.5million deal to sign Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb on April 26, 2008.
The then 22-year-old agreed a five-year contract to move to White Hart Lane following his appearance at that summer’s European Championship with Croatia.
Modric said: “I’m happy to be joining such a big club. It will be a real pleasure to play in the English league, which is the best in Europe, with three English clubs in the semi-finals of the Champions League.”
The midfielder had reportedly attracted interest from the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal after signing for Dinamo in 2005.
Modric’s signature was a major boost to Tottenham in their quest to break the stranglehold of the Premier League’s ‘big four’ and secure Champions League football.
Modric made his competitive Premier League debut in a 2–1 defeat by Middlesbrough in August 2008 but had a slow start to life in England, suffering with a knee injury and struggling to adapt to the physical nature of the league.
Under manager Harry Redknapp, Modric began to shine, helping Spurs to that elusive top-four spot in 2009/10 and signing a new six-year contract.
The world’s biggest clubs began circling and, in August 2012, Modric signed for Real Madrid, where he has cemented his status as one of Europe’s best ever midfielders.
In 2018, Modric won the FIFA award for the world’s best player along with the Ballon d’Or.