Modrić has officially become a Legend
Real Madrid will use the rest of the Spanish league games as a springboard to prepare for the main match of the season – the Champions League final against Liverpool. Meanwhile, the upcoming transfers are being discussed, and the heroes of the season are gathering a crop of personal recognition. In particular, the Marca newspaper, popular in Spain and widely known outside of Spain, included Luka Modric in its list of sports legends.
“Marca Leyenda” is an award that is not tied to specific seasons, achievements and sports, the prize goes to the most outstanding, in the opinion of the editors, professionals and geniuses from the world of sports. The first Legend in the pantheon, which was established in 1997, was Michael Jordan, a month later Pele was awarded the prize, Michael Schumacher, Muhammad Ali, Nadal, Djokovic and Federer, Usain Bolt, Garry Kasparov and Sergei Bubka – about four dozen Legends in a quarter of a century.
From the world of soccer, Pele, Cruyff, Maradona, Di Stefano, Hento, Zidane, Aragonese, Raul, Messi, Kaka, Maldini, Ronaldo, Capello, Iniesta, Hierro, Beckenbauer, Fernando Torres, Xavi, Luis Suarez, Ugo Sanchez and Cristiano Ronaldo have received the prestigious award. In such a glorious company was Luka Modric, whom all the same Marca newspaper ten years ago called the worst rookie of the season in the Primera. Well, not a bad way to acknowledge an obvious mistake from a long time ago and apologize to the humble Lukita, who holds no grudge:
Very proud to receive an award from such an important world-class media outlet. It is a great honor to be ranked alongside the best athletes. I would like to thank my family, my teammates, my coaches. I prefer to win team titles rather than individual titles, but I am very happy to get this award.
Luka Modric’s 10 seasons at Real Madrid: A moment of frustration and a sea of fascination
Modrić calls Real Madrid home and promises to stay a Madrid player forever. There is no reason to doubt Luka’s words, because it was in Madrid that he became a world-class footballer, won two dozen trophies and gained the status of a Legend. But could we have imagined ten years ago that Modric would strive for such heights?
2012-2013 – “The worst transfer of the season in La Liga
Luka Modric joined Real Madrid on the eve of his 27th birthday – far from a boy, a mature player with four seasons in the APL under his belt. Under Mourinho, the Croatian did not have a firm place in the starting line-up, even performing his main feat that season after being substituted – scoring against Ferguson’s MJ at Old Trafford in the Champions League play-offs, helping Real Madrid to progress.
However, Mourinho’s last season in Madrid did not bring trophies and was accompanied by tension in the locker room. Jose decided to return to Chelsea and the press and fans searched for other culprits in the team. Luka Modric, whom Marca regarded as Spain’s worst newcomer of the season, was a convenient target, not seen as a worthy substitute for Xabi Alonso and called “the guy from Tottenham”. It was also the time when Karim Benzema was gleefully harassed. Who would have thought that 10 years later they would both be prayed for.
2013-2014 – One of the heroes of “Desima.”
With Ancelotti’s arrival there was a thaw at Real Madrid, Luka became a player in the starting lineup, and the Italian demonstrated that Modric and Alonso could successfully coexist in midfield. The Croatian showed outstanding soccer in the Champions League play-offs, helped Real Madrid beat Guardiola’s Bayern, and in the decisive match against Atlético de Madrid he scored the most important goal – to Sergio Ramos from a corner on 90+3 minutes. From that moment on, the love and respect of Madrid fans for Luca grew steadily, even despite intermediate setbacks.
2014-2015 – Modric’s fateful injuries
Another season without trophies, and Modrić is once again named among the factors behind the failures of the “Sliço”. Only in a very different sense: his judgement and constructive abilities were sorely lacking for Real Madrid. Luka missed three and a half months due to a hamstring problem, and during that time Madrid have lost their lead in La Liga. Modrić sidelined again at the end of the season, and without him the team failed to beat Juventus in the Champions League semifinals.
2015-2016 – A dismal start and a bright finish to the season
Perez did not forgive Ancelotti for a beastless season and asked the Italian to make room for Rafael Benítez, who initially looked like a highly controversial candidate. Nothing good came of this collaboration, but for the first time the Spaniard made up the “Holy Trinity” of Casemiro, Kroos and Modrić in the Real Madrid midfield, and also gave up the bridge in time to Zidane, who led the “Slivos” to a rather unexpected victory in the Champions League. He has been a regular starter in the playoffs.
2016-2017 – First win in La Liga
Modrić had already lifted the Champions Cup over his head more than once by the time he became Spanish champion for the first time. In the 2016/17 season, Zidane played with a long bench and Luka was troubled by minor injuries, so in the Primera he was only 23 times in the starting line-up, but in the Champions League he remained part of the strongest squad and played regularly. In the final against Juventus, Luquita provided the assist for Cristiano Ronaldo.
2017-2018 – Best season of Modric’s career
“Real Madrid won its third consecutive Champions League, and Modrić was so transfixed that he also reached the World Cup final with the Croatian national team. Luka had an outstanding stretch and won the Ballon d’Or in the end of 2018. Modrić is the only player to break the hegemony of Ronaldo and Messi in the last 15 years.
2018-2019 – Between Zidane and Zidane
A great season was followed by a terrible one, though more for Real Madrid as a whole than for Modric, whose personal stats even improved. But what was the point when the team was failing on all fronts, and Lopetegui and Solari proved such unsuitable coaches that by March Perez had persuaded Zidane to return.
2019-202 – Summer title at Alfredo Di Stefano
Modrić became Spanish champion for the second time in a pandemic year, when the La Liga draw was interrupted to continue in the summer. “Real Madrid ended the season with a run of ten wins, claiming the top spot, and Luka made a tangible contribution to the triumph – and it wasn’t just 3+8 goals plus assists.
2020-2021 – Minutes of glory
Zidane did not break tradition and left Real Madrid after a season without trophies, although he had personal reasons for leaving the Royal Club. Despite his lack of team success, we can remember Modric’s goal at the El Clasico and his series of three assists in the Champions League play-offs (two games against Atalanta and a match against Liverpool).
2021-2022 – Possibly another best season of Modric’s career
“Golden Ball” will not be given to Luka this time, as Karim Benzema is even brighter, but personally, the 36-year-old Modrić from 2022 is in no way inferior to the 32-year-old Modrić from 2018. Luka again produced a three-match streak of assists in the Champions League playoffs, his efficient passes becoming decisive in matches against PSG and Chelsea, especially the classy three-goal treble after which Rodrigo scored against Chelsea. Luca recently made a hat-trick of assists in La Liga, which Real Madrid won ahead of schedule. There is one last dance left – the Champions League final against Liverpool. Regardless of the outcome of the season’s deciding game, though, Modric is already a legend. That’s one thing he cannot take away from him.