Real Madrid round-up: Modric, Kroos, Makélélé, training...
Our daily dose of news from in and around the Santiago Bernabéu which includes Luka love, Toni touches and a post-Cristiano message from a former Claude.
Roll up, roll up. More Real Madrid news coming your way in easily digestible bite-sized chunks...
Happy birthday Luka
Sunday, 9 September, was filled with well-wishes for the Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric who has enjoyed a quite exceptional time of late. Individual player awards, as well as nominations still outstanding, added to a third consecutive Champions League title and a World Cup runner's-up medal with Croatia have proved that age is just a number. Modric's is 33, out of interest.
Keep calm and carry on, says Makélélé
The biggest footballing news of the summer was clearly Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus - you did hear about that, right?! Some followers of the club couldn't imagine 'Madrid AC' (After Cristiano) but the start to the season has gone pretty well at the Bernabéu and one former player has reminded them that the club is always bigger than any player.
Speaking during the international break, Claude Makélélé said: "Cristiano has gone, but Madrid is still Madrid. There are changes across generations..:"
According to Italian paper Calciomercato, Los Blancos are sniffing around Napoli's Polish midfielder Piotr Zieliński. The centre of the park is an area that many feel could be strengthened and if his form continues to impress those reportedly interested then the 24-year old may have a decision to make come January.
After the weekend, the players that are not involved with their national sides will be reporting for another training session on Monday evening. Lopetegui has scheduled it for 19:00 local time as the work gears up before their trip to Bilbao on Saturday.
Liverpool's Trent defends Ramos
Much has been made of the Sergio Ramos challenge on Mohamed Salah during the 2018 Champions League final, one that resulted in the Egyptian having to be substituted. But the latest voice on the matter is from Salah's teammate, Trent Alexander-Arnold who has spoken up for the Madrid man.
"He [Ramos] has shown that he is probably the best... He is the most consistent central defender in the world," eulogised the full-back.
Passing master Kroos
Madrid's German in the middle of the pitch has maintained his role as master passer across a number of managers. Toni Kroos has featured under Ancelotti, Benítez and Zidane but it is now Lopetegui who is the beneficiary of his controlled application.
With only three games played in LaLiga this season it is clearly too early to be making brash statements. However, with 322 completed passes for his club he is significantly ahead of the next best. Barça's Rakitic has 58 fewer (264) followed by Ramos (245), Mandi (244) and Bartra (231). Carvajal and Marcelo are not far behind.
Kroos also leads the accuracy charts with his passing, with those successfully completed forming 96.7% of the 333 total attempts.