The debate about which midfielder is the greatest of all time always seems to churn out the same few names; Zinedine Zidane, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Zico and Michel Platini. Every one of these players has a legitimate claim to the throne, and none more so than the first three mentioned above. There is, however, another man who undoubtedly should be in this discussion; a man who, without the bubble of social media, never seems to be mentioned in the same company as the true elite of their craft.

Humble beginnings

Born in Zadar in 1985, Luka Modric endured a horrific childhood growing up in the former Yugoslav Republic.

His grandfather was executed by rebels during the Croatian war of independence when Luka was just 6-years-old, and he and his family became refugees, forced to flee their home. Growing up at a time when bombs rained down all around him, Modric played football to escape his tragic reality, and was scouted by Dinamo Zagreb at the age of 16, having been turned down by Hajduk Split due to his weak physique.

Tottenham Hotspur

Modric moved to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2008 for a then joint club record fee of around £16 million. The Croat endured a difficult start to life in London, being played out of position on numerous occasions and suffering from a knee injury early on. Then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger labelled him as too lightweight for the demands of the Premier League, with some support from some English media outlets.

Modric though had endured adversity many times in his past and overcame his initial bumpy start to cement his place as one of the best midfielders in the English game.

Real Madrid

Having flirted heavily with Chelsea one summer previously, Modric landed his big move when Spanish giants Real Madrid came knocking. Jose Mourinho's side had a £30 million bid accepted by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, and Modric swapped the Premier League for La Liga.

He made his Real Madrid debut in the biggest game in club football when he replaced Mesut Ozil in the second half of the second leg of the Spanish Super-cup final against arch-rivals Barcelona, only thirty-six hours after signing.

That was to be as good as it got during the first six months of his Real Madrid career. Modric was voted the worst La Liga signing in January 2013 by Spanish news outlet Marca, as he struggled with form.

Modric once again bounced back though, and kick-started his Los Blancos career with a stunning equaliser against Manchester United in the Last 16 of the Champion's League, and has never looked back since.

Making the world's best midfielders look like amateurs

He possesses incredible ball control, a low centre of gravity and a stupendous amount of awareness which allows him to wriggle his way out of seemingly impossible situations. His vision is second to none, picking out some ridiculous passes that only a handful of players could see. His mastery of the game is what sets him apart.

Modric has become arguably Real Madrid's most important player, pulling the strings in midfield, and making some of the world's best midfielders look like amateurs in the process.

He was instrumental in the Spaniards 2014 Champions League win; providing the assist for Sergio Ramos' dramatic last-minute equaliser.

Indeed, in each season where Modric has been a guaranteed starter, Real Madrid have won the Champions League every single time. The only exception came in 2015 when the Croatian dynamo was injured for most of the second half of the season. Modric has now won four Champions Leagues in five years, and three in a row. No midfielder in the last twenty years can boast such a record.

The only blemish on his CV is his lack of international success, and given that he plays for such a young and small nation, this absolutely cannot be used as an argument against his entry into the pantheon of all-time great midfield players.

The Croat's performance against Lionel Messi's dreadful Argentina side was masterful, a spectacle capped off by a goal reminiscent of the one he scored against Manchester United that turned his Real Madrid career around.

It is a privilege to watch Luka Modric play, and it's about time he was recognised as one of the game's all-time greats.