Modric’s physical condition a concern for Zidane, Real Madrid

Modric’s physical condition a concern for Zidane, Real Madrid

The Real Madrid midfielder is losing the ball at an alarmingly high rate and Zidane is rationing his workload.

Luka Modric has not been himself for the last month and a half and his physical state is cause for concern for Zinedine Zidane entering a crucial part of Real Madrid’s season. His passing rate has dropped from 90.9% to 88.3% and he also loses two more balls per game, from 9.7 to 11.5.

San Mamés on Saturday was a good example of the delicate moment in Modric’s season when he was substituted after 62 minutes for Lucas Vazquez despite the game being on a knife edge. So much so that just three minutes later, Aritz Aduriz levelled the score. Zidane explained the change from a tactical point of view when he said, “I was looking for more defense and a little but more balance.” Modric was, however, doing more than Toni Kroos when Real Madrid did not have the ball and recovered more possessions than Kroos (Modric had five to Kroos’ three).

It is not the first time that Zidane has hooked his midfield maestro. He was not able to play against Celta Vigo at the end of January and also against Real Sociedad in the league. He returned to the team before missing out on the next game against Espanyol. His usage has been limited by the coaching staff since then. In the six games since then, he has finished just two of them, replaced in three and did not feature at all against Las Palmas. In the last game that he finished completely, Modric was clearly tired and lost the ball 14 times during the victory over Real Betis.

Croatia will not provide a break for the midfielder as he has travelled with the squad to play against the Ukraine before a friendly game against Estonia. It will be interesting to see what minutes he plays in these games and what shape he returns to Madrid in at the end of the international break.

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