WATCH: Luka Modric Insane Turn vs. Osasuna

Luka Modric is the best thing to come out of Croatia since Yacht Week. He was an absolute wizard at Tottenham and managed to color up to Real Madrid without getting lost in their galaxy of stars. This past weekend against Osasuna, he executed a Cruyff turn so diabolical he must have conjured it directly out of The Ninth Gate:

You know he did ’em dirty when the announcer goes “ooooooohhh!”

Paging Young M.A:

Luka Modric is the shit because he unflappable. He doesn’t flinch. When he gets the ball, he already knows what he’s gonna do with it.

In an era where such a premium is placed on a player’s physical qualities (see Paul Pogba’s transfer fee), Modric has stayed on top not because he’s the biggest, fastest, or strongest, but because he’s the smartest, a la Xavi or Inestia a few years ago. He’s a player who reads the game better than the other 21 players on the field. While everyone else is playing checkers, he’s playing Wizard Chess.

Madrid’s manager, Zinedine Zidane, can always count on Modric to maintain possession and find the seams. In fact, Zidane probably sees shades of himself in Modric. The Frenchman was an absolute dynamo in his heyday, easily one of the best players of his generation. Zidane routinely did things with the ball that his contemporaries could only dream of. Watch him son everyone besides his own father in this highlight comp:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq_378v635c

It’s not just Real Madrid where Modric’s presence is felt. He’s the captain and most influential player on the Croatian national team, which is surprisingly good considering they’re a nation of only 4.25 million. Croatia was my dark horse in the Euros, and pending qualifying, will be my dark horse in Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

As long as they’ve got Modric, they’ve got a shot.