Real Madrid News
Real Madrid among clubs keeping tabs on 16-year-old Croatian defender
According to reports from Christian Falk, Real Madrid are interested in and continue to actively scout, the 16-year-old Croatian centre-back Luka Vuskovic as a potential option for the future.
The teenager began his career in the academy of Hajduk Split, a professional football club in Croatia that plays in the primary division of the country. His ascent up the ranks has been swift, and he currently plays for the under-19 outfit of the team.
The youngster is yet to make a senior appearance for Ivan Leko’s side but is not far off from a deserved debut at the top level. In a talented generation of young Croatian centre-backs, including Josko Gvardiol and Josip Stanisic, Vuskovic is expected to slot in right with them.
The youngster’s playing style is said to be comparable to that of former Barcelona defender Gerard Pique. He is tall, dominant in the air and has a strong physical presence on the field, which has no compromise on his ball-playing ability.
In addition to his dominant presence in defence, he poses a big threat from set-pieces and is said to possess a good positional sense. He can also play both as a left and a right centre-back and as a defensive midfielder if need be.
Real Madrid’s switch in strategy favouring early scouting makes the youngster a viable target for the Merengues, although it is too early for him to play with the first team.
If signed by the Spanish Champions, one would expect him to play for a few seasons at the Castilla before making the anticipated switch to the senior setup.
The youngster has made 19 appearances for Hajduk Split’s youth setup across all competitions this season, including four in the UEFA Youth League. Notably, he has scored nine goals in that duration whilst operating as a defender.
Real Madrid News
Kovacic speaks ahead of Real Madrid vs Chelsea: “Strange to have Modric as a rival”
In less than two weeks, Real Madrid will play hosts to Premier League giants Chelsea in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It is a repeat of last season’s Champions League quarter-final, with the change being that the first leg was played at Stamford Bridge back then, which Real Madrid won triumphantly.
So, even though they lost the second leg 3-2, Los Merengues progressed on aggregate. At one point in the second leg, Real Madrid were 3-0 down and looked to be crashing out of the tournament.
But, that is not how the match played out as Luka Modric produced a moment of magic, sending in a stunning outside-of-the-boot pass for Rodrygo to guide home. That forced the match into extra time and Karim Benzema then scored to seal an aggregate win for his team.
Mateo Kovacic, a former Real Madrid midfielder, was on the losing side with Chelsea on that fateful night. And the Croatian has now spoken to Sportske Novosti, about that moment of magic from Modric last year as well as the prospect of facing Real Madrid again.
“We were good against Real Madrid last year, especially in Madrid. Then Modrić invented that trivela assist for Rodrygo… We have to be at 120% against them. They immediately punish every minor mistake. Although I repeat, we are also a difficult opponent for them, we showed it,“ Kovacic said.
On the prospect of facing his close friend and national teammate Modric, Kovacic added: “[laughs] how the draw arranges it… It won’t be easy for us because Real Madrid is always the most dangerous team in the Champions League.”
“It’s a strange feeling to have Modric as a rival. There were hard fouls last year because neither he nor I pull back. We will fight for sure. I play on the left, he’s on the right, we will see who wants what. But I wouldn’t like to hurt him,” he added.
Chelsea had met Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League during the 2020/21 campaign as well and had managed to eliminate them at the semi-final stages on their way to winning the title.
While the Blues have not been in the best of form this season, they have the star power and quality in their ranks to hurt Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti’s men must be at their best to get through to the next round.