Real Madrid: 5 players who must shine vs. Celta Vigo

Raphael Varane of Real Madrid (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
Raphael Varane of Real Madrid (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Luka Modric
Real Madrid, Luka Modric (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

CM Luka Modric

Real Madrid need Luka Modric to be great on Matchday 17, simply because he is their best player right now. Yes, yes, there is no shortage of competition from Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema, and there are multiple players on the team who deserve high praise. I get it.

But if you’ve been watching Los Blancos every week this season, then you KNOW Modric is the star of the show. If he’s not on the pitch, Real don’t look as dangerous or as creative, and they often look to Modric for that spark in the attacking third to create something from nothing. He even has four goals in all competitions, including a header in the 1-1 draw with Elche.

Modric, Lucas Vazquez, and Dani Carvajal have combined so well on that right-hand side, and they will need to be in sync with Lucas Olaza, Nolito, Jeison Murillo, and Renato Tapia navigating that area of the pitch.

I’d like to highlight Tapia out of that group, because he is the midfielder whom Modric will likely duel with on Saturday. Tapia is just 25 and is one of the best defense-focused midfielders in La Liga with 2.5 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game. He leads Vigo in both of those stats ahead of Hugo Mallo.

Tapia will make life difficult for Modric, who must have his full bag of tricks on-hand in order to help Real Madrid get into the box and create dangerous chances. They were lacking again in this regard on Wednesday.