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Luka Modric vs PSG: a midfield masterclass

Luka Modric ran the midfield for Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, assisting Karim Benzema for the second goal of the game.

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 09: Karim Benzema (L) Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their third goal with teammate Luka Modric (R) during the UEFA Champions League Round Of Sixteen Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at Estadio Santiago Be
Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

Luka Modric put on a magical display as Real Madrid knocked PSG out of the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday.

As Madrid looked to come from behind, Modric played Vinicius through in the left channel. The Brazilian held it up superbly, flicked it back to Modric, who in turn nutmegged Kimpembe for Benzema to slam home Madrid's second of the night.

Just two minutes later, after Idrissa Gueye had lost the ball, Modric started the move that made it 3-1, with another ball played out to Vinicius, this time from Rodrygo. PSG defender Marquinhos sliced the ball into the path of Benzema, who completed a remarkable hat-trick in just 17 minutes.

Modric is 36 but that number doesn't matter when you look at his stats from Wednesday night.

His offensive numbers are outstanding. He made 69 passes, one every 80 seconds, of which he successfully completed 85%. Of the 69 passes, 42 were in the PSG half, where his pass completion rate was 79%. As he is so frequently for Madrid, Modric was the central point through which all the action took place.

It wasn't all attacking play though, he won 11 duels in total. He had a 100% success rate in tackles. One tackle in particular will live long in the memory of Madrid fans; when he sprinted back and slid to stop Lionel Messi on a counter attack with the game at 1-1. It was a heroic display and that moment with Messi lifted the Bernabéu. You could feel the comeback was on. It was inspired by the Croatian leader.

Modric the leader

His route to the dressing room post-match was filmed and has resonated with thousands of viewers, who know that Modric is not only a leader on the pitch, but also a leader off it. "I don't know what else to say about him, sometimes I put him more to the right, sometimes to the left, and he always delivers," said Carlo Ancelotti in his press conference.

This performance also came without Casemiro protecting the back four as he was suspended. Toni Kroos only lasted an hour as he just returned from injury. Fede Valverde was also outstanding in the centre of the park, and Eduardo Camavinga had a good game off the bench.

Contract extension at Madrid

Modric's contract expires at Madrid this June, but he is expected to sign a new short-term deal. When asked in his own pre-match press conference about whether a renewal had already been agreed or signed with the club, he said: "I don't want to talk about this subject now. There are more important things, like tomorrow's game". For Ancelotti, he has no replacement for Modric, either do Madrid.


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