REAL MADRID

Modric keeps running for Zinedine Zidane's cause

At the age 35 Luka Modric is as vital to the function of Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid side as ever, with only Casemiro, Varane and Benzema playing more.

Modric keeps running for Zinedine Zidane's cause
Alex Caparros Getty Images

Luka Modric completed another 90 minutes in the 2-0 victory over Getafe on Tuesday evening, taking his tally for the season to 2,074 minutes in 28 games across all competitions. Only Raphaël Varane (2,475), Karim Benzema (2,297) and Casemiro (2,166) have been used more regularly by Zinedine Zidane in 2020-21. Little wonder that Madrid and Modric are on the verge of coming to an agreement on a new one-year deal for the Croatia midfielder, who at the age of 35 remains indispensable to his side.

In the league Modric has been absent for only one game, missing the Granada fixture with a muscle issue. Of the other 21, he has started 19 and featured from the bench in the other two, chalking up 83 percent of the total number of available minutes in the domestic competition and playing the full 90 on 10 occasions.

Modric sees off the competition of Ødegaard

Modric’s durability is made even more remarkable in a season when Real Madrid have been stricken with a plague of injuries. If at the beginning of the new campaign Zidane’s idea was to keep the midfielder fresh by limiting his game time in LaLiga and the Champions League, a lack of other options in his position has left the Frenchman with no choice but to lean on the 35-year-old.

Fede Valverde has been out with a long-term injury and Isco continues to cut a peripheral figure at the Bernabéu. The player who was tipped to make a breakthrough this season and push Modric for a first-team place after a summer of transfer inactivity, Martin Ødegaard, eventually went out on loan to Arsenal after finding his opportunities limited under Zidane despite Valverde and Isco being mostly out of the picture.