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

Matt Slater 14:44 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.


    “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.