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Luka Modric wants to play first team football at Real Madrid

The Croatian midfielder, despite the huge number of midfielders at the club, expects to start after being on the bench in recent games.

The Croatian midfielder, despite the huge number of midfielders at the club, expects to start after being on the bench in recent games.

Luka Modric, Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder, expects to start the next games for the club after being put on the bench in recent fixtures by Carlo Ancelotti.

The passing of time and the natural evolution of things brings with it a host of changes, but Luka Modric has spent years fighting against them with his performances on the pitch as his main weapon.

He will turn 38 on September 9 in what is set to be his 12th season as a Madrid player but there is still room to go yet. On Friday 25 August he will play against Celta at Balaídos and look to seal his place in the first team. He was on the bench for Real Madrid’s opening game against Athletic Club and the visit to Almería the week after. He has waited for his moment.

Real Madrid:

Luka Modric intenta zafarse de la presión de Edgar González.
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Luka Modric is set to see his minutes drop this season.JORGE GUERREROAFP

Kroos has seen more minutes than Modric

It was an open secret that his time on the pitch was to be reduced this season, as well as that of Toni Kroos. Carlo Ancelotti told both of them in private that it would be the case, and said so in public, too: “his influence will be the same, although he could play less minutes”.

With seven midfielders on the books, but without the injured Ceballos, Carlo has opted for a longer-term look for his generals in the middle of the pitch. Only Kroos played out of the two veterans last week, and that was due to Camavinga’s slight injury, but now Tchouaméni, Valverde and Bellingham are prime candidates to play the majority of fixtures.

Kroos played in the midfield that had an average age of 22.4, but the German still provided the everlasting class he is known for with a pass accuracy of 94%; meanwhile, Modric watched from the sidelines.

Luka Modric’s record last season

For the Croatian, Celta Vigo’s home stadium brings good memories. He started there last season and could do so at the weekend. In the 22/23 season he returned to the lineup against the Galicians after being on the bench in the previous game and could well do the same again. On that night in August he scored from the edge of the box, giving Los Blancos the lead and helping the team to win 1-4.

That was the last time he played against Celta, the 4th team he has played against the most (22), behind Atlético (34), Barcelona (31) and Athletic Club (23). He has 4 assists and one goal against them in the 20 times he has started. Only on 2 occasions he was a substitute against them, in 2019/20 and 2022/23.

After the visit last season, Modric was a starter for 10 of the next 11 games that he was available for in the league. It is a record that gives Modric optimism, but the ferocious competition in the middle of the pitch with the many young players makes things difficult.

Luka ended the season with 52 games and 3,162 minutes played, but this season looks different. His presence on the bench against Barcelona in the USA was only the beginning of a new reality that has welcomed him in LaLiga. He knows his role will be different, but his importance will not drop. Against Almería he played almost half an hour and showed his class - and now he wants to go one step further.

What is Modric’s record with Croatia?

The special thing about this season (one that is surely going to be his last as a Madrid player) is that there is an upcoming Euros in 2024. Modric, a key figure in the Croatian team, is one of the few players who has managed to stick it out in the side that has seen a lot of change: the tournament will be his last dance after the Nations League heartbreak against Spain. It is his last chance to secure a title for his team after 18 years and 166 games played.

In order to do so, Modric will have to help them through qualification, which starts again on September 8 and 11, against Latvia and Armenia. In October he will play against Türkiye and Wales before facing Lativa and Armeria once again in November.


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