It was a struggle for Luka Modric when Jose Mourinho was Real Madrid manager. However, things changed with the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti
Luka Modric? This former Tottenham star midfielder was almost a forgotten man when Jose Mourinho was Real Madrid manager.
The 28-year-old stylish and creative Croatia international struggled to convince the Portuguese and spent most of the time frustrated spending his time warming the bench.
Modric is having the last laughs now, though. He is riding high with the Bernabeu outfit under new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Now, it's not just about Cristiano Ronaldo and another former Spurs star Gareth Bale when it comes to the attacking aspect.
Modric is pretty much a key figure as well under Ancelotti.
The superb goal he scored at Parken Stadium against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League on Tuesday served to consolidate his rise.
The recognition not only came from his teammates - with the whole team piling in to celebrate the goal, clearly very happy for him - but also from the dugout and further.
Modric's expensive signing, both with regards to the tricky negotiations with Spurs and in economic terms, led even the president to doubt the merits of the deal.
But Florentino Pérez is now delighted with the club's hard-earned catch.
Real must also be thankful that Modric has been assisting Bale to settle into the team and life in Madrid.
This is not a major problem as Bale and Modric were together at White Hart Lane for some
time. It's also not a surprise if Bale learned some Spanish from the Croatian.
Modric, incidentally, was brought in with Mourinho's seal of approval and Ancelotti has always considered him as an influential figure.
Ancelotti praised the Modric-Xabi Alonso pairing in Copenhagen. "They provide balance in defence and attack," said the vastly experienced Italian.
Although neither is a specialist without the ball, the team are not missing the injured Sami Khedira.
The duo play better together each game and Ancelotti is poised on this midfield pairing in favour of the 4-3-3 from now on.
Modric is Ancelotti's fifth most used player this season. He has racked up 1,403 minutes in 20 games - behind Pepe (1.810), Ronaldo (1.673), Sergio Ramos (1.611) and Karim Benzema (1.520).
And the way Modric moves around the pitch, with his small stature, strong legs and bob hairstyle resembles that of a pony, described Marca.
Pony or not, Modric doesn't deserve to warm the bench. He is top quality...just don't know what Mourinho was thinking.
This is interesting.
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell confirmed they do not intend to renew Lionel Messi’s contract at the moment, but nor are they planning to sell.
The Argentine wizard's future is increasingly becoming the point of speculation, as well as the club’s position on a possible new contract.
On from Barca finance chief Javier Faus’ declaration earlier in the week that ‘there is no reason’ to hand Messi a new deal, Rosell has made clear the situation.
“At the current moment there is no agreement to renew Messi’s contract,” said Rosell.
“While I am president, I believe it will be very difficult, if not impossible for Messi to leave the club.”'
Four-time Messi is still recuperating from his injury in Argentina. His absence has obviously affected Barca's performances.
However, the good news is that the amazing display by Neymar in the 6-1 win over Celtic at Nou Camp in the Champions League on Wednesday will ease the situation.
Playing Messi's role as 'false No 9', the Brazilian sensation struck a hat-trick and made two assists.
Neymar is on the rise and shut up some critics in the process. He has given enough warnings to opponents that he is from a different planet as as well.