Luka Modric is one of the best central midfielders in the world. He's won everything in club football at Real Madrid and is an iconic figure for Croatian football.
However, the diminutive playmaker's path to football stardom has been long. And as is the case with most heroes, his origin story stems from adversity.
Forced to flee his home at the age of six, Modric honed his skills in a parking lot of a hotel where he lived with his family as refugees.
His rise to the top has been an inspiration and the video above charts his journey.
Cristiano Ronaldo invited former teammate Rio Ferdinand to his home in Madrid lat week with the two discussing his move to Spain and the significance of the latest CR7-badged Nike Mercurial release, The Chapter 5: Cut to Brilliance boots.
The Portuguese star reminisced about his unveiling to the Madrid fans in 2009, saying the atmosphere in the Bernabeu felt like a matchday with over 80,000 fans in attendance.
“All these people, coming just to see me. It was a great surprise,” he said.
Ferdinand marvelled at Ronaldo’s work ethic from his Manchester United days, when the now 32-year-old would carry on training long after the rest of his teammates were finished, saying this characteristic was Ronaldo’s “x-factor.”
“His passion for continually improving…stood out to me,” said Ferdinand.
“He had all the ingredients – skill, mentality, focus – and when he put them together, he became what he is now.”
For his part, Ronaldo says he was motivated by his desire to learn and improve so he could achieve his ultimate goal: trophies, both individual and collective.
“I learned, to be better and better. To be around the best players in the world. If you have two things – talent and hard work – you can be a huge player. I think I’m in that role.
“You work 10, 11 months a year, so if you don’t win, it feels empty. I like to win trophies, because I work hard for that.”
Ronaldo and Ferdinand’s discussion was made into a Nike short film, The Conversation, which can be seen in the video below.
*Some quotes from Rio Ferdinand also taken from Nike’s official release on the boot and film, which can be found here.
Gareth Bale is not as badly injured as Real Madrid and Wales first feared with medical tests revealing the winger has not torn a calf muscle.
The 28-year-old was ruled out of Wales’ final World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland, following dialogue between his club and his country, with a calf strain.
An update from Spanish champions Real on their official website on Wednesday said the former Tottenham player had been diagnosed with “swelling but no tear in the soleus muscle of his left leg”.
Bale suffered the injury during Real’s Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund last month.
Los Blancos must twice play Tottenham in Europe and Bale will be touch-and-go to feature against his former club, with the Premier League side visiting the Bernabeu on October 17 before a reverse fixture on November 1.
The Cardiff-born winger has been plagued with injuries since joining Real in a reported €100million (£86million) switch in September 2013. He has, however, won the Champions League three times with the capital club and celebrated a LaLiga title win last season.