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He has gone from continuing at Real Madrid almost under the covers, partly as a result of the pandemic, to being indispensable. Luka modric wanted to risk entering his final year of contract on his 35th birthday season and its performance fuels the debate: its renewal, on its merits, seems inescapable. Despite Valverde's push and generational transition, the Croatian asserts himself. “I want to retire in Madrid,” he insisted again this week. And seeing his verve, it does not seem that this withdrawal is going to be imminent …

Because Modric does not skimp on sweat even if he has the Ballon d'Or in his living room. In less than a week he has had to do Casemiro twice and his rings did not fall Nor does he care what age his passport indicates. The best example is that last Saturday at the Estadio de la Cerámica in the 1-1 against Villarreal, recovered nine balls, which more than the 30 footballers who played the game. In fact, tripled in steals from his double pivot partner, Kroos… Against Inter, again without the Brazilian battleship, Modric again gave the callus. Again nine recoveries, again the most of his team. A second youth.

Real Madrid Shield / Flag

Modric's heat map at San Siro: he moved non-stop throughout the center of the field, a veritable whirlwind.

Modric's presence remains pure oxygen for the white set. Also in the distribution of the ball, where it is more in its sauce. With 97 percent correct, no Real Madrid player was as infallible as he against Villarreal, he beat a midfield controller like Parejo (96%) and only Moi Gómez was more reliable (97.2%). On a night of more possession, that of San Siro, exceeded one hundred passes during the game (109).

A master for the new jewel

Zidane is using Modric as a guide for Odegaard, who wants to involve more and more in the Madrid dynamic. Croatian is the pattern to make a future star in Scandinavian. Between Modric and Odegaard there is chemistry, it is palpable. The Balkan does not doubt that there is a pupil there (“He is a very good boy, very talented, he will help us with his virtues”, he assured in the previous confrontation with the nerazzurri) and the advice that he conveys to you in private is also made public: “You just have to be relaxed, enjoy the game and do your best.” An enjoyment in which Modric himself decisively intervenes, who frees the newcomer from defensive worries and allows him to 'skip' any tactical rigidity.

Modric instructs Odegaard in 2015, his first year at Real Madrid.

Modric honored and raised his number, the tenth, on the day of Maradona's goodbye. Its renewal, if due to merits, puts the ball on the roof of Madrid every day that passes. Like Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vázquez. Three veterans of the white cause that are supporting this Madrid that alternates glorious days in Europe with others less lucid in our League.

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