Luka Modric has been making Real Madrid shine for 10 years.
ANALYSIS – At 36 years old, the Croatian international playmaker has lost none of his magic.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Alfredo Di Stefano… The history of Real Madrid is full of magicians and superstars, big names, and illustrious footballers.
We don’t win the Champions League 13 times by chance… Luka Modric is perhaps not the most flashy, the most demonstrative, the most “bankable” player. We don’t necessarily think of him first when it comes to naming the best players on the planet or the history of Casa Blanca. And yet… “Many players grow thanks to football; it makes football grow,” says beIN SPORTS consultant Omar Da Fonseca before the Clasico Real-Barça this Sunday (9 pm), during the 29th day of the Spanish Liga.
A duel between the Madrid leader and a Catalan team transfigured by Xavi and… a successful winter transfer window (Torres, Aubameyang, Alves, Traoré), which points to 15 lengths with one game less (the Spanish ranking here).
The eternal rivals are arriving at the Santiago-Bernabeu in good shape, confident after their respective European successes, against Galatasaray for Barça in the C3.
Against Paris Saint-Germain, for Real, author of a heroic comeback thanks to the talent of Karim Benzema, rightly hailed by the observers after a full match and a hat-trick that will last a lifetime.
Brilliant and combative
But the other strongman of the White House against PSG was Modric, brilliant ball in the foot like this caviar for Benzema’s second goal.
On the Madrid meadow, these many balls scraped in the feet of Leo Messi in a duel of former Ballon d’Or winners was worth its weight in gold. “It’s a very good advertisement for football. It has true greatness. He will never make a bad move. He has a body elegance, puts exteriors, flat foot, has a very good strike, and a low center of gravity that allows him to dodge to stop, “analyzes da Fonseca, conquered.
There is enough to be. You have to get up early to find an anti-Modric or simply criticize him—everything to please.
The 2018 world vice-champion, free at the end of the current season, his tenth in Madrid’s colors (424 matches, 31 goals, 68 assists), has also found the formula to thwart Mother Nature’s plans.
At 36 years old, he defies the laws of time and continues to have his napkin ring at the table of giants, who only peaks at 1.72m. So the question of its extension is not one. For multiple Spanish sources, the future of Modric will be written in Castile.
“Every time the ball goes through his feet, he improves the game; he has a computer.”
Omar Da Fonseca
Stronger than Mother Nature? The former Tottenham can still look human at times, and make his age, with more irregularity than in the past in his performances.
For example, we saw him stick out his tongue at the Parc des Princes during the recent eighth leg of the C1 final, or against the Chelsea machine in the semi-finals of the Cup with big ears last season. Chelsea will be Real’s next European opponent.
“It’s not a question of irregularity. Sometimes he is in a slightly less important physical capacity, “corrects Da Fonseca. “He’s the perfect player, one of the best to be where his team needs him.
When it is necessary to defend, he goes, he harasses, he tackles, he comes back, he replaces himself … When it comes to organizing, he’s there too, he changes sides, goes to areas where he knows he’s going to be able to receive the ball. Every time the ball passes through his feet, he improves the game; he has a computer. After, he is a player who has no ego, with a face always serene.»
A serenity that will not be too much to face FC Barcelona this Sunday. Especially since the indispensable Benzema, touched last week against Mallorca (3-0), will be missing.
Indispensable? The term is not usurped, even if Ancelotti assures that the Castilian club “can do it” without him this Sunday. “For two or three years, Benzema has been walking on water, and no one is drowning with him,” summarizes Omar Da Fonseca. The former Lyonnais, the owner of 32 goals and 13 assists in 34 games this season, is forfeited with the Blues.
Carlo Ancelotti will, in any case, be able to rely on the solid Militao/Alaba double behind, the excellent Thibaut Courtois in the cages or the wild Vinicius fire, and of course Modric, always ready to put the warm-up blue, like his playing partner in the middle Toni Kroos.
“For Luka Modric and Kroos, defending is not a problem. They do so with goodwill. When you win a lot, you believe that you are the most beautiful, play the best football in the world, and your sacrifice for the team drops a little.
But these players always sacrifice themselves in the same way, and they do not believe that they are the most beautiful. And it’s true, they are not (laughs),” the Italian coach laughed after Real Madrid’s victory in the Spanish Supercup at the beginning of the year. Real Madrid, who had also ruled out… FC Barcelona in the semis (3-2).
The royal road to the title in La Liga
Still, it was Luka Modric’s 18th collective title with the white tunic of Real on his shoulders, not to mention the Ballon d’Or 2018. And probably not the last, the Croatian midfielder and his teammates being launched on the royal road to the coronation in La Liga. “I’m not tired of winning,” Ancelotti said. Words that Modric could probably take up on his own.
With Kylian Mbappé, the trophy cabinet of Luka Modric and Madrid would fill up even more easily, that’s for sure. “We all want to play with the greatest players, and Mbappé is one of them.
I’d like to play with him, but we’ll see what happens in the future. He’s a PSG player; it’s difficult to talk about him or players who are not with us because we don’t want the other teams to get angry,”
He added: “But there is not a player who would not want to play with him.” We can probably find many who would feast on the idea of spawning alongside the magician of Zadar, who has not finished dazzling the football planet, and the most fervent supporters of Real in particular, from this Sunday.