Real Madrid | Modric’s obsession at 36

A few days before returning to Madrid after finishing his vacation, Luka Modric (he turned 36 years old yesterday) was photographed with his father in his old house near Zadar. The detail is significant in the life of the talented Croatian midfielder: he does not forget his roots. Do not forget your history. And that is what he has been doing since signing with Madrid on August 27, 2012: he has already started his tenth season as a white player. Behind there are almost 400 games (total 392 so far), with 28 goals and 62 assists with the Real Madrid elastic. But above all he is a pillar in this decade of white triumphs: a key footballer in the successes achieved by the team in recent seasons.

The Croatian has won everything as a Real Madrid player: four Champions League, four Club World Cups, three European Super Cups, two Leagues, one King’s Cup and three Spanish Super Cups. But not only that: his game has been internationally recognized with the most prestigious individual awards: he won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, the 2018 FIFA The Best Player Award and the 2017-18 UEFA Player of the Year Award. In addition, he was named the Golden Ball of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he led his team to play the final against France.

And he did so after overcoming a severe injury: in the 2014-15 campaign, the midfielder was injured playing for his national team in a match against Italy valid for Euro 2016. He suffered a tear of the proximal tendon of the left rectus femoris: he missed more than 20 league games. Cup, Club World Cup and Champions. After returning and participating in six games, he was injured again: he sprained his right knee. Madrid noticed his absence: he lost the League and was eliminated by Juventus in the Champions League.

It has been precisely in recent years that the influence of his game has become more evident. Accompanied by Casemiro and Kroos, Madrid, under his leadership, game and determination, raised three consecutive Orejonas (2016-2018), something that had not been seen since the 70s when Ajax (1971-73) first and then Bayern Munich (1974-76) did. That 2018 led his team to play the final of the World Cup in Russia, and he considered leaving the white ranks due to a dizzying offer from Inter. Faced with Madrid’s refusal to transfer him, he stayed in the white team. A year later, his leadership was (still is) unquestionable. All a reference that from now on will be increased by being the fourth captain in the ranks although his hierarchy, almost always on a secondary level, without raising one voice higher than another, is always present.

His game, leadership and being one of the heavyweights of the locker room had a prize. If in November 2020 he sent an optimistic message regarding its continuity (“I want to continue at Real Madrid until I know that I can continue to help the team and I know that now I can. No one will be happier than me if I manage to retire at Madrid”, said the day before meeting Inter in Milan, precisely the team that wanted to sign him in 2018), just a month later he renewed his contract with the white entity until June 2022. And if he continues to play as he has been doing in recent times It does not seem that it is the definitive contract that he signs with the whites: his idea is to play the World Cup in Qatar in November-December 2022. The Last Dance of the Croatian golden generation.

Modric himself said on his return to training in Valdebebas that he returned after his vacation with great enthusiasm: “Happy to see my teammates, eager to work, prepare well and help the team to do well”. After missing this national team break due to an adductor injury (he did not play with Madrid either), he may be available to face Celta (9:00 p.m.) on Madrid’s return to the Bernabéu … In your last campaign?

Unforgettable course

The 2017-2018 season was unforgettable for Luka Modric. After winning the Champions League for the third time in a row with Real Madrid and being second in the World Cup in Russia with his national team, the Croatian midfielder became the only player in football history to have won the Ballon d’Or, the best trophy. FIFA player (called The Best, where he beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Egyptian Mohamed Salah: the Croatian got 29.05% of the votes; the Portuguese, 19.08% and, for his part, the African attacker got 11 , 23%), the trophy for the best player in UEFA and the trophy for the best player in the World Cup in the same year. And that season, the Croatian was at a formidable level: he played 43 games with the Whites (among all competitions), scoring two goals and giving eight assists. With his team he participated in 12 matches (between friendlies and the World Cup itself), scoring two goals and giving an assist in the semifinal match against England. In that tournament, he was proclaimed Best Player of the World Cup ahead of Eden Hazard, his current partner, who won the Silver Ball, and the French Griezmann, the Bronze Ball. No one has done it before, and no one has done it after.

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