Real Madrid’s season is just three games old and they are yet to register their first win. A disappointing draw against Valencia, defeat in the Supercopa game against Barcelona and then “deserving defeat” in the Madrid derby against minnows Getafe. All is not right at the Bernabeu following a successful preseason tour in USA. Ronaldo has scored only one goal in three games, Karim Benzema is yet to open his account and Mesut Ozil seems to be a shadow of his former self.
With the arrival of Luka Modric will Mesut Ozil be pushed to perform even better?
Ozil had been one of the star performers for Real Madrid last season chipping in the 7 goals and more importantly, 24 assists. The German’s performances so far have been mediocre and his contribution limited to the corner kick from which Ronaldo opened the scoring against Barcelona. Keeping in mind that defensive minded games do not suit the German international, he has an excuse but his outings against Valencia and Getafe were dismal as he shockingly missed an open goal opportunity against the latter on Sunday night.
Ozil has kept his game simple so far and hasn’t really been able to create any chances for his teammates either. Madrid need more creativity in midfield and someone who can take over the reins from Ozil when he is having a bad day at office.
Luka Modric is an extremely versatile player who can operate in a defensive role or a playmaker’s role or function on the left and cut inside with equal ease. The Croatian pips the German when it comes to versatility and Ozil is well aware of that. Kaka didn’t put much of a challenge for the German to overcome as the pupil trumped the master for the starting berth but Modric’s arrival means that Mourinho was looking to strengthen the attacking midfield region even further. A competition for places always brings out the best from the players and the Modric-Ozil rivalry isn’t going to be different.
Arbeloa - Pepe - Ramos - Coentrao
Modric - Alonso
Di Maria - Ozil - Ronaldo
Arbeloa - Pepe - Ramos - Coentrao
Khedira - Alonso
Di Maria - Ozil/Modric - Ronaldo
Considering Modric’s versatility, there is also a chance of both of them starting together with Croatian anchoring the midfield with Xabi Alonso and Ozil playing in a more advanced role. Mourinho may try and use this system at the Bernabeu because they dominate teams at home and Madrid can cope up without a defensive midfielder. An extra creative player can be very advantageous as Ozil wouldn’t have to drop too deep to fetch the ball and even the wingers would get precise passes from deep. Modric revealed in an interview with the club’s website that he prefers to play as the anchorman and Mourinho may just want to try that and also give a deserved rest to Xabi Alonso in a few games. Modric can also be a replacement for the Basque midfielder but it’s a long shot that the “Only One” would be looking to replace a crucial player.
With the competition for places increasing at Madrid, players are encouraged to perform at their best and those who fail to do that are shown the door, ask Nuri Sahin. Modric’s arrival at the Bernabeu can do more good to Ozil and Madrid rather than any harm as both the players will be looking for a starting berth. At the moment, Ozil’s hands are firmly on driving seat, but can Modric relegate the German to the bench or will Mourinho start with both of them and produce an even more attack minded Madrid?