FIFA world player of the year Luka Modric felt "completely drained" after World Cup

Matt Slater 28/09/2018
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FIFA’s world player of the year Luka Modric has admitted he started this season feeling “completely drained” after Croatia‘s run to the World Cup final.

Already named the player of the tournament in Russia and UEFA’s player of the year, the 33-year-old midfielder added the FIFA accolade at a glitzy awards ceremony in London on Monday.

These individual prizes were fitting reward for another excellent season for club and country, as Real Madrid claimed a third straight Champions League title and Croatia reached a first World Cup final.

But those long cup runs meant Modric had a short summer break and, like many other stars from the World Cup this summer, he has made a relatively slow start to the new campaign.

Speaking to world players’ union FIFPro at Monday’s event, Modric said: “I had only three weeks of holiday – I think that’s the least I’ve had as a footballer.

“The first week we spent celebrating, first in Zagreb and then in our own cities. It was not easy to start again after those emotional moments. I felt completely drained and I needed time to get back to my best level.

Modric

“I am feeling better and better each day now and I just need more games to get back to my best, but it was not easy. We were so eager to achieve something great with Croatia, but when we did all these emotions came down on us and it was not easy to recover.

“Now I’m getting better and the season has started. We need to forget about it and concentrate on what people expect from us this season.”

Four of Real’s current side – Marcelo, Modric, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane – were named to the FIFA/FIFPro World XI on Monday and all four were in London for the ceremony. Two days later, however, they were beaten 3-0 by Sevilla.

And, earlier this month, a Modric-led Croatia lost 6-0 to Spain in their first game after that World Cup final defeat by France.

Player burnout has also been a talking point in the Premier League, as England played until the final weekend in Russia, as did the league’s numerous Belgian and French players.

Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, Harry Maguire and Paul Pogba are just some of the World Cup stars who have looked short of fitness and sharpness in the season’s opening weeks.

FIFPro has already called for players to be given a minimum five-week break between seasons, not including pre-season training, and the European Club Association wants to revise the international playing calendar from 2024 to include more rest for the game’s top players.

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Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal could be ready for the Madrid derby

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Daniel Carvajal

Dani Carvajal could be ready to face Atletico in the Madrid derby on Saturday after coming through training on Thursday.

The Real Madrid right-back picked up an injury during Los Blancos’ Champions League opener against Roma and missed the trip to Sevilla on Wednesday.

Carvajal’s return for Real would be massive with left-back Marcelo out of the game with a calf injury sustained in the chastening 3-0 defeat in Seville.

Nacho, who started in place of Carvajal on Wednesday, will likely switch flanks to fill in for the Brazilian.

Real need to regain confidence and momentum following the Sevilla defeat – a game which they realistically could have lost even more heavily.

Julen Lopetegui’s men have shown they can beat small teams, but it’s now time for them to prove they can also take care of business against the best in La Liga.

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Live Real Madrid Blog: Reaction to La Liga thumping away to Sevilla

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Hola Madridistas!

The Sport360 Team is in place bringing you the latest Real Madrid news on Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, Julen Lopetegui’s men went down to a shock 3-0 defeat at Sevilla in La Liga while eternal rivals Barcelona also slumped to a loss, 2-1 at Leganes.

As ever, get in touch with us on Facebook throughout the day.

5:33pm – Cristiano Ronaldo cleared for Man United reunion

GettyImages-1045270086

Former Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo will not miss out on a return to his old club Manchester United, after UEFA decided the Juventus man would receive only a one-match ban for his red card against Valencia last week.

Ronaldo scored twice against United for Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 in 2013, the first time he had been back to Old Trafford as a visiting player since joining Madrid in 2009. His new team were drawn against United for this season’s Champions League group stage.

Read more here.

3.30pm – Ramos avoids boo boys on Sevilla return

Ramos Sevilla

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was given a warmer reception than usual when he returned to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Wednesday night.

Read why, here.

2pm – Marcelo injury scare

Marcelo has sustained a muscle injury.

Left-back and vice-captain could miss this weekend’s derby clash against Atletico Madrid. Read more, here.

12pm – Lopetegui admits Sevilla were ‘superior’

Real Madrid went down with a whimper.

Real Madrid went down with a whimper.

Real boss unhappy with display and manner of defeat in Andalusia.

10am – Real’s player ratings

It was a disappointing night for Los Blancos in Seville.

It was a disappointing night for Los Blancos in Seville.

Read Andy West’s take with his Whites’ ratings.

9.30am – Reaction to defeat in Seville

Marcelo spoke to Real Madrid TV after the Spanish giants suffered their first defeat of the season at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo (C) looks on before the Spanish league football match Sevilla FC against Real Madrid CF at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on September 26, 2018. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP) (Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s Brazilian defender Marcelo admitted the team ‘hurt’.

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