Luka Modrić has created Croatian football history on Saturday night in Cardiff.
Modrić became the first ever Croatian football player to win the UEFA Champions League trophy, the pinnacle of European football, three times after his Real Madrid side beat Juventus 4-1 in the final tonight.
Since the UEFA Champions League has started in 1992, rebranded from the European Cup, nine Croatian players have lifted the title – Alen Bokšić, Zvonimir Boban, Davor Šuker, Dario Šimić, Igor Bišćan, Mario Mandžukić, Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and Mateo Kovačić.
Only two players had won it twice until tonight – Modrić with Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016, and Dario Šimić with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. Now Modrić is on his own with three titles, whilst Kovačić joins the others with two titles.
Mandžukić, who would have become the first ever Croatian football player to win the UEFA Champions League trophy with two different clubs, managed to get his name on the scoresheet with a stunning goal.
This is the fifth season in a row a Croatian has been a UEFA Champions League champion. It all started in 2013 when Mandžukić’s Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund. Modrić in 2014 with Real, Rakitić in 2015 with Barcelona, and Modrić and Kovačić with Real again in 2016.