Last weekend, Luka Modric celebrated his 5th year as a Real Madrid player. In those past 5 years, the Croatian midfielder has developed into one of, if not the best central midfielder in the world. Here, we look back on his career so far in the Spanish capital.
In the summer of 2012, Real Madrid set about acquiring Luka Modric from Tottenham Hotspur. As the club would find out when they went back for Gareth Bale, negotiating with the North London club is very difficult.
Daniel Levy (Spurs Chairman) is more than comfortable and capable of driving clubs insane when it comes to buying a player from his club. This summer, he managed to squeeze over €55 million out of Manchester City for a player who the manager didn’t want anymore. He also replaced him with a better player for half the price in Serge Aurier.
In the summer of 2012, Real Madrid found themselves in such a difficult positon. The issue was further complicated by the fact Man United were also in the running to sign Luka Modric. Levy played both clubs against each other and following months of negotiating, Modric eventually went to Spain.
After arriving in Madrid on 27/08/2012, the Croatian midfielder initially found things very difficult. His first season at the club was easily his worst in the past 5 years and possibly even the 5 previous to his move. After his first season in Spain, Luka Modric was voted the worst signing that year in a poll by Marca where he received 32.2% of the overall votes.
In that first season, Modric completed only 717/1530 minutes in the league and scored only 1 goal in 19 games. That was until Real Madrid came up against Man United in the Champions League. Over the 2 legs, Madrid advanced winning the tie 3-2. Fundamental to that victory was Luka Modric.
After Nani got sent off, Mourinho brought on Modric and he scored a vital goal to put Madrid in a winning position by stepping outside Carrick and put the ball into the corner past De Gea from 20 yards out. Many argued that this was the only good thing Modric did for Mourinho’s side that season, and that was enough for many.
Needless to say, the diminutive Croatian has gone from strength to strength since then. Many would see him as currently being the best central midfielder in the world. After his first season at the club, Modric has controlled almost every game. Once he is given adequate support from a defensive midfielder in Xabi Alonso and more recently Casemiro, it allows the Croatian to be expressive and creative on the ball.
He keeps the ball circulating rapidly and changes direction of play constantly – yet he makes it look so easy. In the way he plays, Modric creates space for not just himself but everyone ahead of him. His accuracy of passing (on top of creating space for players by moving the ball into certain areas and out again) enables him to put balls into space for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to score goals.
After completing 93% of his attempted passes last season, Modric was recently voted as the best midfielder in last year’s Champions League. The second leg against Atletico Madrid was the perfect example of the qualities Luka Modric brings – not only to midfield – but to the Real Madrid team as a whole. After going 2-0 down away to arch-rivals, Modric took control of the match by dictating the pace of the game. He slowed down play until such a time as Real Madrid regained full control of the tempo. They eventually went on the cruise through to the final and ended up winning their 12th European Cup along with their 3rd in 4 years.
Looking back on the last 5 years, I’m sure Luka Modric is happy to have chosen Real Madrid over Man United as he picked up an amazing 12 major trophies in his 217 appearances for the club including:
- La Liga x 1
- Champions League x 3
- European Super Cup x 3
- Copa del Ray x 1
- Club World Cup x 2
- Spanish Super Cup x 2