Modric as the twelfth man: 'I found it difficult to understand at first'

While Toni Kroos is stopping, Luka Modric shows no signs of slowing down. Even though he has spent more time on the bench this season than he would have liked at Real Madrid, he says, "I have been a role model in training."

Modric as the twelfth man: 'I found it difficult to understand at first' Embed from Getty Images

It is unlikely that Kroos and Modric will start together in the Champions League final on Saturday, which will be the last one for the German.

The only major match they both started together this season was El Clásico on April 4th (a 3-2 victory). Most of the time, Carlo Ancelotti chose the German as a starter, alongside younger talents like Jude Bellingham, Federico Valverde, Aurélien Tchouameni, or Eduardo Camavinga.

Modric, finding himself as a luxury twelfth man, was an adjustment. "At first, it was difficult for me to understand," the Croatian said in an interview with Cadena Cope. "But I think I handled it very well and performed well when it was my turn to play. I have never been a problem; on the contrary, I have been a role model in training."

Despite this adjustment, Modric can keep going like this for a while; he is not thinking about stopping yet. "I can't tell you when that will happen. It will be bit by bit. As I feel now, I can continue physically and football-wise at the top level. I have no doubt about that."

Kroos, on the other hand, has already said goodbye to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and sees things differently. "Luka and I think a bit differently about how to end our careers," he told Cadena SER. "In Luka's case, he continues to enjoy football. I have always wanted to end at a great moment, when my body is still working very well."

After the Champions League final, Kroos and Modric will face the Euros with Germany and Croatia, respectively, where the latter is the captain. The Cruyff of the Balkans has already played in four Euros and four World Cups. With Real Madrid, he has won the Champions League five times and recently won the league title for the fourth time.

Modric's journey this season has been one of adaptation and resilience. Transitioning to a role where he spends more time on the bench has been a test of his professionalism and character. His ability to embrace this new challenge while continuing to contribute significantly when called upon speaks volumes about his dedication and love for the game.

Meanwhile, Kroos' decision to retire comes as a personal choice to end his career on a high note, ensuring that he leaves the game while still performing at his peak. This contrast between the two players highlights the different paths veterans may take as they approach the twilight of their careers.

As they prepare for the European Championship, both players will bring their vast experience and leadership to their national teams. Modric, as Croatia's captain, will be pivotal in guiding his team through the tournament. His extensive international experience, having played in multiple Euros and World Cups, will be invaluable. Similarly, Kroos' presence will be a significant boost for Germany as they aim for success in the competition.

In summary, the careers of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos at Real Madrid epitomize professionalism, excellence, and the different ways players can choose to conclude their illustrious careers. As they move forward to new challenges, their legacy at Real Madrid and their contributions to football remain undiminished.

Updated: 11:48, 28 May 2024

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