5 midfielders who could replace Luka Modric at Real Madrid
- Real Madrid bosses are sweating on Luka Modric's contractual decision as they will have to look for potential replacements in the summer.
Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric is set to call a halt to his glittering career in Spain at the end of this season. The Croatian whose contract runs until 2021, has not signed a contract extension at the Santiago Bernabeu. In eight seasons at the capital, Modric has won four Champions League titles, four Club World Cups, one La Liga title and one Copa Del Rey. On an individual level, the 34-year-old has been honoured with the Ballon d’Or award, FIFA’s The Best award in the men’s category, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award and the World Cup Golden Ball to name a few.
The former Tottenham Hotspur man has an incredible 332 appearances in a Real Madrid shirt, scoring 22 goals and providing another 52 assists. Captain of the Croatian national team, Modric has shown his world-class ability and consistency at the highest level for several years now making him one of the best in the business. With age catching up, the diminutive central-midfielder will hope to seek new pastures where he could end his career on a high.
Zidane Zinedine and Real Madrid are aware that it will be almost impossible for anyone to replicate his legend, however, they will have to quickly identify his eventual successor at the club. In this section, we discuss the five midfielders who could fill Luka Modric's boots at Real Madrid.
5. Dani Ceballos
Dani Ceballos will return to Real Madrid next season after his season-long loan at Premier League heavyweights Arsenal comes to an end. Having made an instant impact at the North London club, the midfielder lost his footing under Unai Emery before recently reigniting into life in Mikel Arteta’s new deep-lying role.
The Spaniard is a technically-gifted footballer who is a genius in ball control, passing and dribbling out of spaces. His low centre-of-gravity makes it almost impossible for him to be knocked off the ball as he controls the tempo of the game and spreads passes at will. However, given the 23-year-old’s obvious talents, he still is raw in terms of decision-making. At Arsenal, he has been kept quiet in far too many games since the start of the season but has shown signs of significant improvement in recent games.
In Arteta’s new set-up, Granit Xhaka and Ceballos play in a double-pivot with Mesut Ozil in a number ten position in front of them. Though Ceballos could thrive in the German’s role behind the attackers, the Spanish boss has instructed him to dictate play from the centre of the pitch. His work rate, stamina and ball-winning capabilities also allow him to track back, defend and launch counter-attacks for his team.
At Real Madrid, the former Real Betis man could play in his preferred number eight role ahead of the defensive midfielder where he could use his excellent reading of the game to exploit the opposition and link-up with the forwards. If he performs on a consistent level, there is no doubt that Dani Ceballos will not only be an adequate long-term replacement to Luka Modric but also become a Bernabeu hero himself in the coming years.