Real Madrid’s most in-form player to start 2022

Real Madrid Squad (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid Squad (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

There are very few players in world football that continue to compete at the highest level, and at the biggest European clubs, like Real Madrid, past the age of 33.

Currently, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Robert Lewandowski, Manuel Neuer, and Luka Modrić are on this list of players that remain in the upper echelon in their respective positions.

At the age of 36, Luka “Lukita” Modrić has been aging like one of the finest wines in Europe.

Coming off a man of the match performance in the Super Copa de España Final victory over Atheltic Club Bilbao (12th title for Real Madrid), Luka Modrić displayed once again how integral he is to Real Madrid’s success and how he’s been the club’s most in-form player so far in 2022.

Real Madrid, Luka Modric
Real Madrid, Luka Modric (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /

Form is Temporary, Class is Forever

In the final against Bilbao, Modrić scored the decisive opener for Los Blancos, but his real brilliance came from his midfield presence, as it always does.

On 80 touches the Croatian produced 89% accurate passes (108 of 121), 36 accurate passes in the final third, 100% duels won (4), 2 interceptions, and 1 tackle.

Following his mastery on the field, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez spoke to El Chiringuito TV about the magician himself:

"“Luka Modrić is still the best in the world in his position. In whichever stadium he goes, he receives a standing ovation. It’s a phenomenon worth studying.”“We are very happy with him, and he deserves all the accolades he is getting as the best player of the match.”"

For some, marveling at the number of goals per game is how they dictate who is the “best of the best” at each influential position.

But, if you’re a Madrid fan, Papa (Florentino) Perez, or just someone who appreciates the brilliance of Luka Modrić, then you know that everything he does leading up to an individual or team goal is what makes him other-worldly.

Whether it’s dribbling out of trouble in his own third of the pitch, completing over 90% of passes, curling through balls to Benzema, or chasing down his opponents, he provides patches of brilliance throughout a match and delivers the cumulative canvas of pure masterpiece once the final whistle is blown.

And this season, at 36, he’s remained as in-form as you’d like.

Luka Modric, Real Madrid
Luka Modric of Real Madrid presents his Ballon D’Or Trophy. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Numbers and Titles Don’t Lie

When you’ve won The Best FIFA Men’s Player award, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award,
three La Liga titles, four Champions League titles, five FIFA FIFPro World XI selections,
three UEFA Team of the Year selections, a World Cup Golden Ball, and Ballon Do’r, you’re unequivocally a player who’s categorized in an elite tier.

At 36, Modrić is still playing at a level that is not only serving the needs of his club on both sides of the pitch but is also deserving of more awards, ask his president.

“Modrić is in enviable form, it’s worthy of winning the Ballon d’Or again,” Perez claimed after the Super Copa final.

Florentino has seen his fair share of Ballon D’or winners either play for his club or win the award while wearing the shirt, so he knows what he’s talking about when he thinks that Modrić’s form and numbers speak for themselves.

In the 2017-18 season when Luka won his first Ballon D’or, he topped the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Griezmann, and Mbappe for the award.

Some criticized the decision to give him the award because his goal tally (5) didn’t match those who finished as runners-up that year, but his stats went beyond goals.

The boy from Zadar finished that year (club and country) playing 57 matches with 10 assists, 28 tackles, 56 interceptions, completed 86.7% passes completed (1800 of 2075), 73.9% successful dribbles (51 of 69), and 92.5% passes received (1795 of 1940).

So far this year, Modrić has remained in the top half in almost every midfield category in La Liga. Although the following stats are smaller sample sizes (no World Cup), Lukita’s form this year, to date, has proven that he is as potent on the pitch as he was back in 2017/18.

In 26 matches so far this season for club and country, Luka has accumulated 3 goals, assisted 7, 14 tackles, 28 interceptions, completed 89.4% of passes (1181 of 1321) (112 progressive passes), 71.1% successful dribbles (27 of 38), and has received 94.3% of his passes (1196 of 1268)

By these numbers, and where the club is at this point of the season with competitions, the Croatian is on track to surpass his numbers from his Ballon D’or season, without even needing to play in a World Cup.

But that really goes to show what a phenomenon Modrić is, even towards the latter stages of his career.

Mind you he has a great supporting cast and he feeds the ball to two great forwards who are very much in-form themselves, but there’s definitely a different energy to Real Madrid’s team when Modrić is on the field.

There’s always a sense of calm, regardless of the opposition or how the team is performing because he’s someone who gives everything for his teammates, and is relentless in his pursuit of success on both sides of the pitch while being a very humble figure.

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Due to his loyalty and brilliance on the field, he’s been in talks with the club about renewing his contract until 2023, looking to possibly finish his career at the new Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Moving forward, Modrić will look to build on his form as Real Madrid will battle Elche at home and he’s primed to start his 26th match this season for Los Blancos.