When Xavi, Iniesta ruled the midfield, Barcelona conquered the world. When Scholes, Giggs ruled the midfield, Manchester United conquered the world. When Pirlo was at his peak AC Milan dominated Europe like never before. When Lampard aced at Chelsea, he took them to the fairy lands of glory. When Luka Modric was in his prime, Real Madrid went on to win 4 Champions League trophy in 5 years. A dominance in European Football unheard of. Luka Modric in the middle of the park is a joy to watch. The grace, the elegance, and the passion he oozes are special. We are fortunate to watch him play.
When Luka Modric plays, he is completely a different entity. He is just lost in his own perfection. In the world Cup 2018, no one thought Croatia would go that far. They had to beat hot favorites England and a defiant Russia to qualify for the finals. They lost to France in the final but they had earned the right to hold their head high and fly the Croatian pride. Luka Modric, the captain of Croatia was the heart. He was the orchestrator who riled up the greatest opera Croatia has ever seen. He displayed one of the greatest individual display of football in Europe, that not only took them to the final for the first time in their history but also earned Luka the Golden Ball. Having just won the Champions League, Luka Modric was hailed as the best player of that season. He deservedly won the prestigious Ballon D’or in 2018. He ended the 10 years Monopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. This is not just a good fact, but a testament to his legacy and his brilliance.
People keep saying Modrić doesn't deserve to be compared to Iniesta or Xavi..— 𝐸𝓁𝑒✵ (@ModricEle) February 4, 2021
He clearly deserves it.pic.twitter.com/dp7emfnHx9
But after a turbulent start to his season at Madrid and fatigue saw the decline of Luka Modric in the 2018-19 season. Because of the World Cup, he didn’t get the proper rest he wanted before resuming his season. With fatigue and a struggling Real Madrid, he was just not performing up to his expectations. Despite mentioning repeatedly that he is tired from lack of Pre Season and rest, the media didn’t spare him. He was termed ‘Finished’.
It is actually natural to call him ‘finished’. Because when Modric plays well, Madrid plays well. When he doesn’t Madrid struggles. For the large part of 5 years, Modric was at his absolute best. But as soon as Modric was out of form Madrid struggled. In that season Madrid sacked 2 coaches mid-season. It was almost a make or break season for his legacy. He was linked with the Italian and Premier League club at the end of the season. But the man stayed. He was determined to earn the trust of Madrid.
You can not just write Real Madrid off. Real Madrid bounced back. Luka Modric bounced back. The 2019-20 season saw the resurgence of the Midfield trio Luka Modric- Toni Kross – Casemiro. Luka Modric once again announced his stay in Madrid with full swag. The grace and those drop of the shoulders were back. He benched Fede Valverde, Isco, and James Rodriguez to earn his spot back. He went on to win La Liga 2019-20. His presence in the midfield was assuring and at the same time devastating. He was once again the pinnacle of Madrid’s dominating season. People wrote the little man off. But he was well and truly alive in his prime.
Luka Modric played badly only once in that season. He struggled against Manchester City in the RO16 of UCL. He and Tony Kross was chasing the shadows of Kevin De Bruyne. Toni Kross was pressing De Bruyne and Luka Modric was shut down from every angle. Both of them had a bad game. Madrid got knocked out of UCL. That was probably the best performance of Kevin in that UCL campaign. It speaks a volume about how good Kevin was when you have Modric and Toni in the same field. But what Kevin did in that match, Luka Modric did it for years in Madrid. People are unappreciative about how good Modric was on every match of UCL for 3 years. Season after season Modric dropped the masterclass on the field.
You can not press Luka Modric. He will just find a space and make it seem like he had all the time in the world. You can’t beat him when he makes the transition of defense into attack. If you let him play the ball, you can just kiss goodbye to it for the rest of the game. He will let you have the ball when he wants when he deems it necessary. When you have superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez, or Sergio Ramos, and you still outshine them, then you are really special. Luka Modric is a special breed of footballer.
The leadership and performances of the old guard have been an important factor in the crucial wins Real Madrid secured over the last three games. In particular, Luka Modric has shined and helped drive his club to vital victories as they hopefully turned a corner.
The Croatian’s energy has been jaw-dropping as he tirelessly works to provide support in the final third while not absconding from his defensive duties. Many are starting to wonder if the Ballon d’Or winner has truly discovered the fountain of youth. Indeed he rediscovered youth. When he plays it seems like some 20-year-old energetic midfielder is playing. Real was winning 2-0 against Monchengladbach. Lucas Vasquez was running down the wing with the ball. Then Luka Modric made a run. I don’t know what got into him. He made that in behind run like his life depended on it. The commentator misunderstood him to be Rodrygo. He is 35 years old but he started 9 games for them this season. He is indispensable. When Madrid was losing 0-3 on halftime, Luka came from the bench and scored a banger from outside the box and made it 1-3 and gave Madrid the desperate relief they needed. His presence is still evergreen. He is easily the best player for Madrid this season. With Valverde and Odegaard out injured, Real played with a very thin midfield option over the last month. But they came out on top. Luka Modric came out as a winner. He shut down the Atletico Madrid and delivered a masterclass. Atletico lost their first league game in 27 matches.
It’s still the beginning of the season and Luka Modric is already one of the best players of La Liga and probably Europe at the moment. It’s a privilege and a lucky decade where we witnessed the grace of Luka Modric, the evergreen number 10 of Madrid.