Modric met with little fanfare after finally making move to Madrid
Ã¢ÂÂEr, hang on, this isnÃ¢ÂÂt what Cristiano Ronaldo got,Ã¢ÂÂ must have been the thought passing through somewhere behind Luka ModricÃ¢ÂÂs floppy-fringe as the midfielder trotted out onto the Santiago Bernabeu pitch on Monday afternoon. Heck, even Julian Faubert got to meet a rightfully-puzzled Alfredo di Stefano.
Instead of 80,000 cheering spectators and a very warm hand on the CroatianÃ¢ÂÂs entrance, some 100 fans were in the Santiago Bernabeu at around 14.30, along with a rapidly-assembled press pack that had been left standing in the sun for quite some time due to a delayed flight for the new signing.
To be fair, there wasnÃ¢ÂÂt a lot of opportunity for anyone to get to the stadium in time, lending more credence to the theory that Modric Ã¢ÂÂs arrival in Madrid was a rather hurried one. An email popped into LLLÃ¢ÂÂs inbox announcing the presentation of Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs new signing just two hours before it was originally scheduled to take place. Suddenly LLL went from writing about GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs victory the previous evening and MadridÃ¢ÂÂs terrible start to the season, to discussing the arrival of the new summer signing and...oh...LLL gets it now.
Modric didn't get quite the same welcome as Ronaldo did in 2009...
ItÃ¢ÂÂs no wonder that the mischievous Sport ran a provocative front page that suggested the presentation was Ã¢ÂÂa 42 million euro smokescreen to cover shame,Ã¢ÂÂ referring to the Coliseum catastrophe the previous evening. When probed on such a notion, Emilio ButragueÃÂ±o - seated next to Modric in his role as the clubÃ¢ÂÂs Director of Institutional Relations - gave a cheeky smile and chuckle at the suggestion, before advising that the timing was mere coincidence. Modric, on the other hand, was starting to realise that he was entering the Spanish conspiracy mad house, with no chance of turning back now that he had signed his five-year deal.
As for what the former Tottenham star himself had to say in his opening press conference, several boxes on LLL's 'Player Presentation Bingo' card were quickly ticked. IÃ¢ÂÂve joined the best club in the world, IÃ¢ÂÂll always be grateful to my old club, IÃ¢ÂÂll play anyway the manager tells me too. But that last point is perhaps a little contentious. The Croatian was remarkably candid in where he expects to play - and thatÃ¢ÂÂs in MadridÃ¢ÂÂs central midfield and not poncing about anywhere else.
This will come as a bit of a shock to many in the Spanish football media, who see Modric as replacement for KakÃÂ¡, and a kick up the jacksie to Mesut ÃÂzil, who they now perceive to be a dilettante, which doesnÃ¢ÂÂt seem quite fair to LLL. Heck, even the fact that Modric was coming from White Hart Lane was a shock for one journalist, who had both the room and Modric laughing for slipping up and asking how the CroatianÃ¢ÂÂs relationship with Arsenal was after a protracted transfer that Ã¢ÂÂwent on too long,Ã¢ÂÂ as Modric himself put it.
On Tuesday evening, Mourinho spoke ahead of the Super Cup second leg to perhaps ease ModricÃ¢ÂÂs mind a little. Ã¢ÂÂWe know what his preferred position is and itÃ¢ÂÂs logical that he plays in his position. HeÃ¢ÂÂs not a left back nor a striker, heÃ¢ÂÂll play in his position.Ã¢ÂÂ
The transfer has been well received in most quarters - in Madrid to be more specific, with a column in BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs Mundo Deportivo grumbling that Florentino PÃÂ©rez was supposed to be buying Spanish - with a clinical Marca claiming that Modric will be the Ã¢ÂÂbrain to give fluidity to the Whites attack.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂWhat this energetic and vigorous Madrid lacks is more elaborate play...in midfield and Modric offers this. Sahin did not succeed in this task but Mourinho asked for Modric. This is an advantage,Ã¢ÂÂ writes AS editor, Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o.
Nevertheless, Modric wonÃ¢ÂÂt be playing any part in WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Barcelona clash. Instead it will mostly be the shower that have started the season. Ã¢ÂÂMy priority is to know whether what happened in Getafe was a one-off or to know if itÃ¢ÂÂs a real problem with the psychological profile of some players or of the team,Ã¢ÂÂ warned Mourinho, who looks like he is not willing to tolerate a fourth game without a win to start the new campaign.