REAL MADRID

Modric poses a dilemma

The 2020/21 was a busy one for the Croatian midfielder, his second most minutes played since he arrived at Real Madrid. Next season he needs more cover.

Madrid
Modric poses a dilemma
AFP

The 2020/21 season has seen Luka Modric play the second most minutes since he joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2012. Only in the 2013/14 campaign, when he was 28, did he play more minutes than now, at 35. In that particular season, he played 4,061 minutes compared to 3,721 this season, although it should be remembered that that year Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey (also played over two legs) and the Champions League.

Modric to play at Euro 2020

Now, with the Croatian recently extending his stay until 2022, there is a dilemma for Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid, because Modric will play in the European Championship with Croatia after a gruelling season with his club. Next year, at the age of 36, Ancelotti is likely to play him less than the season just gone.

The problem that the Madrid team has right now is that in the current squad do not have a natural replacement for Modric. Fede Valverde plays in the same position but is a different profile. Ancelotti has Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos to call upon after both midfielders completed their respective loan spells at Arsenal.

Ceballos returns

The Croatian's profile is that of Dani Ceballos. In 2017, he was signed as the heir to Modric, due to their similarities in the game. The Spaniard was an important figure at Madrid in 2018-19, but in Zinedine Zidane's time at the club, he has never had a consistent run in the team. After two good years at Arsenal, his priority is to succeed at Madrid and we will have to see if Ancelotti trusts him in a pressurised engine room.

There is also the option of Odegaard. That's what Zizou tried to do last summer, when he asked for his return from Real Sociedad. However, the Norwegian is much more comfortable further forward, without so much responsibility. As the years go by, he will probably gradually move back into a deeper position, just as Modric did in his day.

Blanco for Casemiro

Antonio Blanco, from Castilla, is seen as Casemiro's eventual replacement, although he could also be used to give the Croatian some rest next season.