It’s easy to forget that Luka Modric was once voted the worst signing of the season in 2012.
Readers of Spanish newspaper Marca gave Modric the unfortunate title after he made a slow start to his Real Madrid career.
Nowadays, the Croatian is seen as one of the finest midfielders in the world. He has featured in the FIFPro World XI in each of the past two years and has two Champions League winners medals, too.
The 31-year-old is a joy to watch. Silky smooth on the ball and with outstanding vision, he figures to play a crucial role in Madrid’s bid to win a third European title in four years.
Alongside Toni Kroos, Los Blancos possess arguably the best centre midfield duo on the planet. Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal and Thiago Alcantara will have something to say about that, and they will get their chance when the sides meet in the Champions League, but it’s hard to put them above Kroos and Modric.
Yet things might have panned out different if the ex-Spurs man had gotten his wish to see Ivan Rakitic sign for Madrid.
In an interview with El Larguero, Rakitic revealed that Modric wanted him to join Los Blancos when he played for Sevilla. Rakitic wound up letting his compatriot down, joining Madrid’s rivals, Barcelona, in 2014, but you can’t argue with Modric for trying.
“Before, when I was with Sevilla [Luka] Modric said to go to Madrid” Rakitic said, via Sport. “But now now-… It would be more difficult now!
“He is a really good friend and I respect him a lot as a player and a person. We’ve spent nearly 10 years together with national team.
“But he’s a friend away from football, too, and when we speak we don’t talk much about football; more about families and stuff.”
GOOD ENOUGH FOR BARCA
In Rakitic’s eyes, Modric is good enough to play for Barcelona.
The former Sevilla midfielder added: “He’s a person I respect a lot; of course he’s capable of playing for Barca because for me he is one of the top three in the world in his position.
“I enjoy playing with him a lot and with complete respect to everyone else, we see a different Madrid when he’s there and when he’s not.”
The mutual respect is nice. But don’t they both see that, had they played for the same club, there’s a chance one of them would have been left on the bench?