Luka Modric will be a Real Madrid player for the 2023/24 season. The veteran’s continuity was never in doubt with him being vocal about his desire to continue, but it was only earlier today that the club finally made an official announcement of his contract renewal.
The Croatian international, at 37 years of age, continues to push the boundaries of football and make the impossible possible. Modric is ageing like fine wine, and it is safe to say that Real Madrid are blessed to have a player with such quality, zeal, and desire to remain at the top.
According to reports from Fabrizio Romano, Modric could have easily taken the easier route to Saudi Arabia. The player had one of the biggest-ever salary proposals in football from the Middle-East-based league on his table and was just one signature away from an economic fortune.
However, he decided to turn down the proposal with utmost respect. It is after all the midfield maestro’s desire to continue playing for the club of his life, Real Madrid, at the highest level.
Not much is known about his role in the team next season, for the arrival of Jude Bellingham and the potential reinstatement of Aurelien Tchouameni as a starter in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans make it difficult to predict the manager’s ideas.
Yet, reports state that Modric will be as important to the team as he has been over the past decade. The Italian coach counts on him completely, both as a player and one to guide the next generation.
In 33 La Liga appearances for Real Madrid last season, he scored four goals and had three assists to his name. Further, he averaged 1.3 key passes per game and created nine big chances.
The midfielder has extended his deal with Los Blancos for one season, and one would expect it to be his final season at the Santiago Bernabeu given his age. Yet, if history has taught us anything, never write off Modric.
Ancelotti takes the blame for Real Madrid’s derby debacle: “It’s my responsibility”
Real Madrid’s fairytale run of six straight wins at the start of the campaign came to a screeching halt on Sunday night against Atletico Madrid.
Not Jude Bellingham, not Joselu, not Luka Modric, nobody could rescue the men in white even with individual brilliance on the night. After all, Atletico Madrid never really allowed them any foothold to get back into the game.
In the end, the visitors stared at the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat. Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after the Merengues’ collapse and addressed a plethora of topics including the formation and defence on the night.
The manager began his post-match press conference with an overview of the game that unfolded at Civitas Metropolitano from a Real Madrid perspective.
“We didn’t start well. We have not defended well, we have been fragile in our area and we have not been forceful. When they have advanced 2-0 they have played the game they wanted to play, defending very well and looking for quick transitions. They have done it better than us.”
Ancelotti’s formation for the derby raised many eyebrows, for he opted to use five midfielders and only one forward in his 4-4-2 diamond on the night. Clarifying the reason for the abrupt experimentation, he said,
“The formation has changed because we have started with the rhombus, with Modrić as a midfielder and two strikers, Bellingham and Rodrygo. Joselu hasn’t played because he wanted to have more ball control with the presence of one more midfielder. Bellingham’s position has not changed in the offensive aspect.”
“It was not a problem of who played, but of defensive fragility that we did not have in the first games. In six games we had only conceded three goals and in 45 minutes we have conceded three. We have been fragile. It can be said without a problem. It hasn’t been a good night,” he added on what went wrong.
Barring the games against Celta Vigo and Almeria, Los Blancos have conceded the opening goal in every league game so far. Commenting on the glaring statistic, Ancelotti said:
“It is an issue that we have already talked about and we will continue to talk about it. It’s important. Four times the rivals have come forward soon and in three times we have been able to come back.”
“Today we have been close to coming back, but [Atleti’s] third goal has finished the game. At the end of the first half we did well, but the 3-1 was too much to try to recover,” he added.
Of all three departments on the field, it is safe to say that the defence fell apart the most on the derby night. Yet, Ancelotti refused to point fingers at any of his players and insisted it was a combined failure.
“I don’t get into talking about individualities. I’m just saying that we haven’t defended well. The team has not been compact, especially in the first half and Atlético has taken advantage of it.”
“The three goals have been a photocopy. A break to open to the centres, which were not well placed in the area. We haven’t been compact in all three goals,” he added on conceding three headers.
Ancelotti then went on to reveal that he had not had the time to rewatch Camavinga’s offside goal on the night that created controversy.
“I haven’t seen it. I’ve been told that Rüdiger was offside, but I haven’t checked it.”
The Real Madrid coach praised his opponents on the night, Atletico Madrid, and went on to call them one of the world’s best defensive setups.
“Atlético is one of the teams that defends the best, not only in Spain. They are very well organized and are strong in the duels. It’s not easy to look for spaces. We have tried it from outside the area and we have lacked a bit of effectiveness. The problem has not been offensive, but defensive.”
Los Blancos’ attack has received a lot of slack in recent weeks for its relatively poor depth and finesse. Ancelotti, however, refused to buy that theory.
“Vinicius could not score in these three games. Rodrygo has tried, today it has been dangerous a few times, but when the space is reduced it is more complicated for everyone. So far we have lacked a bit of effectiveness, but we have won six games by scoring goals.”
On Aurelien Tchouameni starting on the bench in such an important clash, the gaffer said,
“I have tried to put a little more control in the core and give rest to Tchouameni, who had played many games also taking into account the national team.”
“We don’t point out anyone, I think pointing out Modrić seems a little too much to me. He hasn’t played a good game, like his teammates. I have tried to put more height in the front to play a little more with centres, seeing that we were losing,” he added when asked if Luka Modric’s play on Sunday was sub-par.
After addressing the team’s struggles on the field, the manager was asked if he would have done things differently in hindsight.
“It’s a good question. Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Yet, he went on to insist that the formation was not flawed, saying: “Today we haven’t done well, but it’s not a formation problem. The formation is not going to change. It’s a defeat that can be an opportunity to do things better.”
“We are sad and angry, as always when we lose. But until now we had done it very well and we continue to do it well.”
Finally, Carlo Ancelotti took the blame for the poor showing at Civitas Metropolitano.
“It’s my fault.”
Source: Real Madrid website