REAL MADRID

Kovacic to return to Madrid with Modric after knock flares up

Kovacic had an ankle niggle but played against Iceland in Croatia's World Cup qualifier. The Real Madrid player suffered pain and was taken off at half-time.

Kovacic to return to Madrid with Modric after knock flares up
STR AFP

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Kovacic on the charge against Iceland

Real Madrid sent Mateo Kovacic on international duty wrapped in cotton, but it looks like he's coming back in a worse state than the one he went in. Zidane was convinced that he'd be rested against Iceland, in Croatia's World Cup qualifier for Russia 2018, but in the end Ante Cacic decided to start the midfielder, and the result wasn't good. 

Kovacic had to be taken off

Kovacic, who was suffering from an ankle knock, had to be taken off at half time when the problem flared up. He'll now be heading back to Madrid on Sunday alongside Modric, who was never going to play in his country's second match of this international break. 

Kovacic expected to be fit for Madrid derby

Despite the scare, the Croatian medical team are convinced that Kovacic will be fit for the derby against Atlético on 19 November. WIth Kroos (broken foot) and Casemiro injured (the Brazilian is still hopeful of making it as he recovers from a broken leg), Kovacic is the only midfielder who can realistically carry out Casemiro's role, that Kroos has been covering in the Brazilian's absence. 

Modric looked fit during his 45 minutes

Modric, who is coming back from an operation to his right knee that's kept him out for a month, took Kovacic's place when he came off at half-time. The good news for Zidane is that Modric looked ready. 

Modric in action against Iceland