Luka Modric: Real Madrid’s Croatian midfield maestro still magnificent at 36

Luka Modric: Real Madrid’s Croatian midfield maestro still magnificent at 36

It’s not difficult to pinpoint the biggest threat to Manchester City’s chances of advancing to the Champions League final.

Karim Benzema is having a spectacular season for Real Madrid, with consecutive hat-tricks against Paris St-Germain and Chelsea suggesting the 34-year-old France striker is ready to inherit the ‘Mr Champions League’ mantle from former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Benzema is not Real’s only 30-something star who keeps getting better with age, because midfield maestro Luka Modric – now 36 – is also having another magnificent campaign.

In fact, a case could be made that Modric is even more important to Real’s overall structure than Benzema, because his dual ability to build play from the back and create danger around the opposition penalty area is fundamental to the team’s coherence and fluidity.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Croat has certainly made a major mark on this season’s Champions League, delivering a glorious assist to Rodrygo with the outside of his right foot to force extra time in the quarter-final second leg against Chelsea.

That moment of magic was dubbed the “pass of the decade” by former Rangers striker Ally McCoist, while fellow pundit Rio Ferdinand declared it should be “illegal”. Spanish sports newspaper Marca wrote: “With Modric on the pitch, nothing is impossible. Build him a statue now!”

Real president Florentino Perez is another to have sung his praises, saying Modric should be considered for another Ballon d’Or after shining against Athletic Bilbao in January’s Spanish Super Cup final.

The ‘Benjamin Button’ of European football

Part of what lies behind the long list of tributes to Modric is a sense that it simply shouldn’t be possible for him to consistently perform so brilliantly at the age of 36.

That sense of incredulity at his physical condition came up again when he was filmed celebrating in the dressing room after last month’s comeback victory over PSG, still apparently full of energy despite covering more ground (10.54km) than any other Real player.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.