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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

La Liga: Luka Modric shows Real 'never give up'

The veteran Real Madrid star, who has seen his minutes shrink this season, had just become the hero for the Spanish league leaders with a scorching winner after coming off the bench in a 1-0 win over Sevilla on Sunday

AP/PTI Barcelona Published 27.02.24, 11:18 AM
Luka Modric celebrates with teammates after scoring for Real Madrid during a La Liga match against Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Sunday.

Luka Modric celebrates with teammates after scoring for Real Madrid during a La Liga match against Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Sunday. AP/PTI

Luka Modric leapt atop the advertising board, pumped his arms and joined the collective roar of the Santiago Bernabeu.

The veteran Real Madrid star, who has seen his minutes shrink this season, had just become the hero for the Spanish league leaders with a scorching winner after coming off the bench in a 1-0 win over Sevilla on Sunday.

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The normally calm Croat was possibly shouting for more than joy as he celebrated just his second goal of the season.

Perhaps there was a bit of vindication, of showing everyone — Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti included — that he could still decide games even in an increasingly young Madrid squad.

The 38-year-old Modric collected a deflection with one touch before unleashing a powerful strike from outside the area that grazed the post before finding the net in the 81st minute.

Modric had gone on just six minutes before with the leaders stymied in attack without injured top scorer Jude Bellingham.

"It is what always happens. We never give up. We have shown it many times, that this is a part of Real Madrid's DNA," Modric said about his goal.

"We knew that today (Sunday) it was important not to let points get away because Barcelona would have closed the gap. Our insistence throughout the game bore fruit."

Modric has helped Madrid win five Champions League titles and the player won the 2018 Ballon d'Or award. This season, with Bellingham replacing him in the starting 11, he has mostly been the subject of speculation about whether his playing days in Madrid's all-white are nearing their end.

"It is very difficult to leave (Modric) on the bench, but every day he is an example for the entire squad," Ancelotti said.

"It is in Luka's hands to decide what he does next season. It is difficult to manage (a situation like his) and I understand what Modric may be thinking when he does not play."

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