Luka Modric completed a huge milestone this weekend as he completed 500 games with Real Madrid as los blancos beat Barcelona 1-2 away from home, courtesy of a special brace from Jude Bellingham.
The Croatian came on for Toni Kroos in the second half, and his inclusion completely changed the tempo of the game for Madrid. He even ended up assisting Bellingham’s winner, albeit unintentionally.
“I don’t even know what to say. I am very proud to be able to represent this club so many times. 500 is a very special number.”
“Reach this figure against a big rival, in the Classic, and win the match… I can’t ask for more. I am very proud to reach this figure in the largest club in history,” Modric said about his achievement.
Tributes poured in from around the world, with former Madrid players, managers, teammates congratulating Modric on his incredible milestone.
A certain Ivan Rakitic joined in as well, as quoted by The Athletic, “Our relationship is much bigger than football. It is incredible to see the boy I met more than 15 years ago has played 500 games for Real Madrid and won the Ballon d’Or.”
“It is incredible that a player from our country, Croatia, can do it. And he is a lesson for all of us that age is just a number,” the former Barcelona midfielder added.
He then went on to also say, “Congratulations to you Luka for being a unique, incredible player and an even better person. I hope there is still much more to come, that you continue to give us so much joy.”
Rakitic and Modric have competed at the highest level as both teammates and rivals. They both competed against each other in El Clasicos for six years, and were starts in the Croatian national team that reached the 2018 World Cup final.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo