Football News

Luka Modric closing in on Real Madrid record but admits ‘frustration’ over lack of playing time

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 13:30, 10 September 2023

Luka Modric has expressed his unhappiness with his current Real Madrid status.

The former Ballon d’Or winner extended his contract this summer for an extra season, rejecting an offer from Saudi Arabia, but seldom featured under Carlo Ancelotti.

So far this season Modric featured in each of Real’s opening four La Liga matches albeit starting once to give him 133 minutes of playing time.

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“No one is happy when they don’t play. After my entire career [starting], that feeling is especially strange to me. But well, the coach has decided for his own reasons. I won’t sink or ease off because of that. The opposite,” he told Sportske Novosti.

“They wanted me to stay and I had the same desire. My only condition for staying was that they treat me as a competitive player, and that they do not keep me in the squad based on past merits. They told me nothing about my status would change, and that’s why I signed.

“I am aware that we have a lot of competition in the midfield, that these youngsters are top-level players, that is why they are at Madrid. We older players must help them progress and gradually assume our roles. What I am clear about is that I will work to be among the protagonists this season.

“We will see how things develop, if in the future it turns out that I am no longer important, then I would think about what to do. Other clubs came to me with interest, but my goal has always been Real Madrid.”

Having recently turned 38 the Croatian international can establish himself as the oldest player to represent Los Blancos by the end of this campaign. Ferenc Puskás, Paco Buyo, and Jerzy Dudek are the only players who have played for the Spanish giants after turning 38 with Puskás the current record holder (with him playing for Real at the age of 38 years and 234 days).

Buyo is the second-oldest with 38 years and 63 days, while Dudek is behind by four days. Modric would surpass Dudek and Buyo starting from matchdays 13 (Real Madrid vs Valencia) and 14 (Cádiz vs Real Madrid), respectively. He will need to feature in one of the Real’s last five La Liga games of this season in order to break Puskás’ milestone.