The terrain here is rocky, hard and dusty. The trees are bare; Blackened and charred because of fires that take everything on its way.
Not much prospers.
Once again the cattle dotted on the mountain side. But sheep and goats were difficult to feed in this landscape and even harder to sell.
There have not been many children born here recently. There are not many opportunities on this side of the road, under the Velebit Mountains, near the Dalmatian coast.
It's as beautiful as it's fate. And in its mountains are secrets.
Follow the winding road that is above the village of Modrici and you will see a house on a corner facing the lake. On the one hand there is a shed and an addiction. On the other side, some of the road and protruding from the steep mountain, a sign:
"Stay behind: there may be unexploded land mines in the area."
The house itself was once proud. It provided protection for three generations under a roof that no longer exists. The house, like the grass below, is burning. There are no windows in the windows and there are loose blocks and debris around.
There is a closed chain through the main door. And on that door, a Croatian flag has crossed the size of an A4 paper. It is the only sign that this abandoned house on this troubling quiet mountain road once contained someone who was important.
That person was Luka Modric. Or, more precisely, Luka Modric Jr.
The city of Jasenice, of which Modrici and its hills are a part, were occupied by Serbian forces in September 1991 during the Croatian Independence War.
Only a handful of resistant souls, mostly older, then stopped to earn.
"On the morning of December 18, 1991, at 9:00 a group of Obrovac Chetniks led along the old road towards Velebit.
"As they drove down a winding and dusty Velebit road, they sang their folk songs, primitive songs full of ideological and violent rhymes.
"They also praised Draza Mihajlovic, Slobodan Milosevic and the other creators of the Serbian occupation project against neighboring countries.
"Just in that sense, the lucky Chetnians met a sheep and goats, and a man who cared about the flock while we betrayed the poor mountain grass was Luka Modric from Zaton Obrovacki, a city bordering Jasenice., Located above Obrovac.
"Chetniks stopped the car immediately, walked out and ran towards the innocent shepherd while singing the song with her thick throats.
"Who are you, what are you doing here? This is a Serbian country," they snapped.
"They drove him, beat him and shouted:" Move, move! "" The scary hero took a couple of unsafe steps forward "and then Velebit echoed the terrible shot.
"Luka Modric fell, knocked down …
"After killing Luka Modric, the killers, Chetnics, continued to Meke Twelve to finish their bloody work …"
Luka Modric Sr. was the grandfather of Luka Modric, and that was how Ivica Marijacic, the journalist in Zadarski List, described his executive in a news article from April 1995.
The so-called SAO Krajina militia killed six more retirees that day. Later they were heard of their actions outside a police station. It was revealed in the International Court that the local Serbian authorities were aware of these crimes, but that there were special orders not to investigate.
Who shot Luka Modric and the other people that day was never taken to justice. They could not be traced and flown over a border or another.
Luka Modric Jr. was six years old. The life she had, quiet, rural, often enlightened by helping her beloved grandfather in the fields, was over. Now he was a refugee, together with his parents and his sister. They never left and returned; The house, in an area caught by unexplored mines, is not worth staying again.
And it's Luka Modric's childhood home. He did not get another one. Instead, it had crowded refugee hotels in the nearby city of Zadar. The first thing he bought with his first professional payment was a house for his mom and dad. Somewhere they could call home again.
If you kick a ball on that slope outside Modric's house, it would bounce and roll down the road. One of the first questions you ask when you see the first house of one of the best players in the sport is: Where did he play? He could not. Not here
But in Zadar he could.