Real Madrid Boss Jose Mourinho could give a debut to their new Croatian signing, Luka Modric in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona to overturn the 3-2 deficit. Real Madrid finally clinched the signing of Modric yesterday, as the Croatian flew in to put pen to paper on a five-year deal and was hastily unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“I’m ready, but the coach will decide if he uses me or not,” said Modric.
“It’s going to be tough for me to earn a place but that’s the challenge, the biggest challenge of my career. Expectations are as high as possible and I’m ready for that.”
There seems to be strong, yet fair argument that the ex-Spurs hotshot wasn’t really needed for a squad with already four players who occupy the two central midfield positions – Xabi, Diarra, Khedira, Granero. But I really feel that Modric can offer Madrid something that the club was actually lacking.
“Real Madrid now have a very talented and creative organiser in midfield. An offensive player who can assist his teammates and move the ball around intelligently while always working hard and making sacrifices for the good of the team.” - Quotes from the official Real Madrid website also gave a hint at his possible position.
Luka can operate in a numerous different positions. He can play on the left, on the right, behind the strikers, as a deep lying play maker. So where will he play at Real Madrid?
1) 4-2-3-1 is the formation which is unlikely to be altered by Jose after the brilliant campaign last season. With Modric in the squad, alongside Xabi, we can see a drastically improved Madrid side dominating possession, and turning that possession into a counter attack in seconds as well. Last season, Luka Modric attempted 2534 passes and completed 2215 more passes than any premier league player in any of the last 3 seasons!
Modric, who seems feeble, is actually pretty strong and extremely difficult to dispossess, unlike Ozil. He is brilliant in holding up the ball, which eventually will allow Ozil to move to the wide positions, and work his way out from the wings, thus providing the deep lying playmakers to create more chances. Complex, right?
For sure, Madrid would miss the work rate and energy that Sami provides, or the direct game play. But this is just about Modric. Khedira is needed against other opponents such as Bayern Munich, to offer the essesntial balance in the side.
One of the concerns for Real Madrid last season was the exhaustion of Xabi Alonso. He is almost 31, and was playing games week after week last season seemed pretty tiring for the Spanish maestro. Here is how Luka provides the luxury of resting Xabi and yet keep winning important games.
Mourinho: “Modric was our very first option, a long way ahead of anyone else,” he said. “When we buy a player we know where he feels comfortable. We know why we waited so long and why he was our first choice. He will play in a position that is his. I’m sure he won’t play at left-back or centre forward.”
2) The arrival of Luka could bring about a switch to 4-3-3, which was fielded by Jose for his former teams in the past, and with Real as well in some occasions. The formation will have three midfielders in the middle – Modric, Alonso and Khedira, with either Ozil or Di Maria to play in the wide positions. I would prefer Di Maria, as the latter drops down and helps Arbeloa defensively, and has great flair. Xabi will be playing his usual deep lying play maker role, but this time with more of an defensive approach.
He is a good player, a quality signing,” said former Real Madrid forward Alfonso. ”I see him alternating in that ‘mediapunta’ role with Ozil.
“I don’t see Mourinho changing the formation – that’s how Madrid play now – but Modric does give you options. If you want to play a more attacking midfield, he can be in there in place of [Lass] Diarra or [Sami] Khedira.”
This Madrid side looks fascinating, and has great depth. Competition between other players like Granero, Diarra, Callejon and Kaka, will bring out the best out of the Madrid squad, and boy, I’m excited!
Here is Luka Modric’s first Interview with RealmadridTV: