Since his move from Tottenham Hotspurs ten years ago, Luka Modric went from one of the most underrated players to a Ballon d’Or winner. At the age of 37, he continues to churn out world-class displays for Real Madrid game after game.
While he might not have long left in his legs, the Croatian international has signed a one-year extension with Real Madrid and will be a part of Ancelotti’s plan for 2022-23. Ahead of what could be his final season at the club, he gave an elaborate interview to Jutarnji List (h/t MadridXtra).
On whether he exchanged shirts with Mbappe after the PSG game: “I didn’t. I found those media stories funny. Domagoj Vida’s son loves Mbappe and asked me to talk to Mbappe to have his shirt.”
On Karim Benzema’s imperious form: “Benzema is the top player with whom I enjoy playing since day one. When I got to know him better, he became even more dear to me. I’m happy for him, he deserves everything.”
On Sergio Ramos’ departure: “It’s difficult for me to come to training knowing Sergio Ramos is not there anymore. From the first day he was close to me, helped me to adapt, cheered me and believed in my potential. We became great friends. Sergio Ramos and I still call each other every day. I miss hanging out with him, but that’s how it is in football.”
On being substituted at Parc des Princes against PSG: ”Back at PSG’s stadium, when me and Carvajal were replaced, I told him on the bench: ‘Carva, you will see, we’re going to smash them at the Bernabeu, you will see.’”
On Kylian Mbappe’s speculated move to Real Madrid: “We all thought he was coming but he didn’t. As I keep saying, in every context, not one player is above the club. Real Madrid is the greatest, above every player, and it will always be so.”
On the balance in the team: “The mix of veterans and youngsters is one of the most important reasons why we won this season. Valverde, Camavinga, Rodrygo and Vinicius revitalized us veterans.”
On Carlo Ancelotti’s philosophy: “Ancelotti brought us his unique way of dealing with players. His approach is positive and humble, correct and benevolent. Everyone would go into battle with him.”
On Los Blancos’ future: “When the ‘elders’ leave, the youngsters will be here and will continue to win. That’s because Real Madrid is eternal.”
On the greatness of the club: “We all leave, we all retire, that’s why Real Madrid is the only thing that is enternal.”
On the second leg against PSG: “I knew we would beat PSG. I told everyone.”
On his future: “As long as I’m feeling good, and they’re counting on me, I’ll keep going.”
On the UCL win last season: “I think this UCL win was the most special, because I still say to myself ‘wow’ every single day. La Decima was the most historical one.”
On his celebration after the comeback over PSG: “I have no idea why I did that (laughs). The win vs PSG felt the best, because there was a lot of skepticism as to how could we beat this so-called mega team, that’s been built to win the UCL, the ‘analysts’ wrote us off and yet we turned the tie around in minutes.”
On Lionel Messi playing for the French side: “It was strange to see Messi, after all El Clasicos in another jersey. With Neymar and Mbappe, who combined together for PSG’s goal. It’s an expensive attack.”
On his move to Real Madrid ten years ago: “I was hungry for success when I joined in 2012, because I came from Tottenham, where we made great strides in four years, but I was not lucky enough to win a trophy with Spurs.”
On the team’s work-oriented mentality: “After we won the UCL in Paris, we said ‘from tomorrow, we start work for the 15th UCL trophy.’ This is Real Madrid.”
On Madrid’s ‘transition season’: “At Real Madrid, there is no ‘transition’ season. You are required to win every single year.”
On the club’s incredible run in the Champions League: “We eliminate the champion of France, then the champion of Europe. Then the champions of England. Then they say ‘we are lucky’, I don’t understand this.”
On Ancelotti’s impact: “Ancelotti came, he knew a lot of the players and he instilled calmness into the group and created a mutual environment that resulted in success. I don’t need to say what everyone knows, both Ancelotti and Zidane are the top of the profession! The results speak for themselves.”
On David Alaba’s incredible season: “David Alaba fit in brilliantly, with his experience.”
On his respect for the manager: “I wouldn’t change one bit about Ancelotti. He is a coach who, in the tension, pressure and stresses of elite football, brings calmness and does emphasize the importance of the group relationship. That’s why everyone respects him extremely.”
On the Ballon d’Or race: “Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or, but for me, he’s been the Ballon d’Or for a long time now.”
On receiving a standing ovation at the Bernabeu: “It’s a special feeling, I love it as much as the first time.”
On the love from fans: “I feel the fans are very fond of me. The affection between us grows more and more and I really love it.”
On the high standards at the club: “At Real Madrid, if the performances are not at the level, then re-examinations begin [from the media]. But it’s normal. I have nothing to complain about. I feel the media still respect me.”
On his legacy at the club: “I have contributed to Real Madrid’s success and that makes me feel very happy. I have achieved my dream.”
Brahim, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could lineup against Sevilla
Real Madrid are set to play hosts to Sevilla this evening, in what could prove to be a critical match in the context of the title race.
Although Los Blancos hold a formidable lead at the top of the table, the club are coming on the back of a disappointing result against Rayo Vallecano.
Dropping more points against Sevilla tonight could prove to be costly, especially with Barcelona and Girona breathing down their necks.
Potential Real Madrid lineup vs Sevilla
As Real Madrid approach this crucial game, coach Carlo Ancelotti has to make several arrangements, especially with so many players ruled out either due to injury or suspension.
Starting from the goalkeeper position, Thibaut Courtois remains out, which means Andriy Lunin should continue in between the sticks, ahead of the unhappy Kepa Arrizabalaga.
In the right-back position, Ancelotti is likely to opt for Lucas Vazquez, as Dani Carvajal is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the last game.
On a bright note, though, Antonio Rudiger is back and should return to central defence. He will be accompanied by Nacho Fernandez at the heart of Real Madrid’s four-man backline.
Elsewhere in defence, Ferland Mendy should continue to start ahead of Fran Garcia in the left-back position.
Moving into midfield, Eduardo Camavinga has been ruled out due to suspension. However, Ancelotti does have a myriad of options in the middle of the park.
Aurelien Tchouameni should continue to operate in the number six position, just behind the two interior midfielders Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde.
Luka Modric is an option on the bench, should Ancelotti require more experience in the middle.
As for the attack, the Real Madrid frontline should be led by Brahim Diaz once again, even though he faces fierce competition from Joselu.
Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, on the other hand, are guaranteed choices in the wide attacking spaces, though Ancelotti does have Arda Guler and Alvaro Rodriguez as potential alternatives.