Luka Modric has been a central figure for Real Madrid for over a decade now. The Croatian magician has remained an integral part of the team’s dynamics across seasons to no end, and it is only this time around that he has seen a slight reduction in prominence.
Modric has won it all in his stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, be it in individual accolades or achievements with the group. In a recent interview, the veteran looked back at the various milestones he has enjoyed with the club thus far and their significance.
He began by sharing his emotions over reaching the prestigious 500-game mark with Real Madrid, a feat he achieved during Real Madrid’s recent Clasico win over Barcelona.
“This shirt and all the others mean so much to me. Reaching this figure is incredible and I’d like to thank Madridismo for their support during all these games. I’ll continue to give everything for Madrid.”
He elaborated on how the Spanish club was his second home, and in many ways, the biggest institution of his life.
“Real Madrid is everything to me. It’s part of my life, my family, it’s a way of life. I’m from Croatia, I was born there, but I’ve been here for eleven years and I feel at home. I’m grateful for all I’m experiencing at the best club in football history.”
Then began the dive back into history. Modric began by remembering his 200th game for Los Blancos which came around the time they won the club’s tenth European title.
“It’s a special number. 200 games for Real Madrid is a lot and we’d already won La Décima in that period, which was incredibly special. I waited twelve years to win it and to win it like that, especially since I love the number ten, it was so special.”
The next milestone he looked back upon was his 250th game with Real Madrid which arrived in a special moment for the club as it was around the time Real Madrid won three consecutive UCL titles.
“With this shirt (250 games), we won the third Champions League in a row in Kyiv. It was incredible and something no team had ever managed previously. It was a very successful spell, a period of enjoying time with my teammates, the way we played and competed.”
300 was up next, and the memories took Modric back to the year he won the Ballon d’Or and had a stunning World Cup run with Croatia.
“I like the number 300. This shirt is special as well because it’s the one I wore when I won the Ballon d’Or. Then I had that incredible World Cup with Croatia and then I won the best possible individual prize for any footballer. It was a dream and something I will never forget. This shirt holds a special place in my heart.”
Progressing to the number 350, the veteran star reminisced his world-class strike against Barcelona and how he turned the game around for his side.
“We played against Barcelona, I started on the bench and I was eager to get on the pitch. I always want to play in the Clásico, they’re such special games. The team was playing very well in that came and I came on for the final half-an-hour.”
“Then Rodrygo came on and we made a nice move. He set me up and I did a couple of feints and scored the goal. It was with the outside of the boot, it was really nice. It comes naturally to me and the more you practice, the better you get,” he continued.
As the memories of years rolled on, Modric arrived at number 400, a milestone he reached around the time Los Blancos won their 14th UEFA Champions League title with sensational comebacks at every stage.
“In this shirt, I played another Clásico at Camp Nou. We won again, it’s always important to win those games. It was an amazing performance, so this is a special shirt. We also won La Decimocuarta in Paris with this one.”
“That was a Champions League that will be remembered forever because of how we did it. We played against all the biggest teams in Europe and the way we won with big comebacks at the Santiago Bernabéu. This shirt is one of my most special,” he added on Real Madrid’s run that season.
Modric also took a moment to acknowledge the sheer absurdity of winning five UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid in today’s world of football.
“Winning five Champions Leagues is unbelievable. I never imagined it. When you come to Madrid, you know you’re coming to a winning club that is destined to achieve big things. But I never imagined I’d win five European Cups. It’s a historic achievement.”
Moving to the more recent past, the magician spoke about his 450th appearance with Real Madrid and how he handed Karim Benzema his Ballon d’Or on that special night.
“The 450th appearance also has a special shirt. Scoring at the Santiago Bernabéu is always beautiful. I was the captain in that game, but what I remember is the fact Karim presented his Ballon d’Or. It was Zidane and I who handed him the trophy. Then I got the goal in the win over Sevilla and it was a perfect night.”
Now, Modric has hit the 500 mark and is firmly etched as one of Real Madrid’s greatest players. He was lost for words when asked about the latest record, saying,
“It’s incredible, I don’t know what to say. Reaching this milestone is amazing. 500 games is a figure very few players have achieved for Real Madrid. To be among that select few fills me with pride.”
“Besides all the awards and trophies, the recognition from the fans, who have always been behind me, has been the most important thing. The love I feel every time I set foot on the Bernabéu pitch makes me very happy. So I always looked to repay that by giving it my all,” he added about the fans.
Source: Real Madrid website
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