Luka Modric's return to provide timely boost to Real Madrid
Madrid, Feb 20 (IANS) Spanish football giants Real Madrid have received a major boost in their efforts to win the La Liga and retain the Champions League trophies with the return of Croatian midfielder Luka Modric to full training.
Modric has been out of action for over three months after damaging knee ligaments while on international duty in November and his absence has been hard for coach Carlo Ancelotti to cover, especially in the wake of recent injuries to midfielders Sami Khedira and also James Rodriguez, reports Xinhua.
Ancelotti clearly has little faith in former Real Sociedad midfielder, Asier Illaramendi and it was recent signing, Lucas Silva who partnered Tony Kroos in his side's 2-0 win away against German side Schalke 04 in the Champions League Wednesday.
Kroos complained of tiredness at the end of last year, but Modric's absence means that the German has been forced to play in every game from a deep midfield position.
The return of Modric would allow him to push forward to his preferred role closer to the rival penalty area.
Ancelotti will not take any risks with Modric at this stage in his recovery and he certainly won't form any part of the squad which will play against Elche Sunday in La Liga, while it is also unlikely he will play the following weekend at home to Villarreal.
However, Modric can make his return when Madrid travel to play Athletic Club Bilbao March 7 or in the return leg against Schalke 04. But Ancelotti will be ensuring Modric attains his peak fitness when Madrid face fierce rivals Barcelona March 22.
With just a point separating the two, the winners of the Clasico can well emerge as the league champions.