Modric met with little fanfare after finally making move to Madrid

“Er, hang on, this isn’t what Cristiano Ronaldo got,” must have been the thought passing through somewhere behind Luka Modric’s 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 Croatian’s 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 wasn’t a lot of opportunity for anyone to get to the stadium in time, lending more credence to the theory that Modric ’s arrival in Madrid was a rather hurried one. An email popped into LLL’s inbox announcing the presentation of Real Madrid’s new signing just two hours before it was originally scheduled to take place. Suddenly LLL went from writing about Getafe’s victory the previous evening and Madrid’s 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...

It’s no wonder that the mischievous Sport ran a provocative front page that suggested the presentation was “a 42 million euro smokescreen to cover shame,” referring to the Coliseum catastrophe the previous evening. When probed on such a notion, Emilio Butragueño - seated next to Modric in his role as the club’s 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. I’ve joined the best club in the world, I’ll always be grateful to my old club, I’ll 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 that’s in Madrid’s 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 Kaká, and a kick up the jacksie to Mesut Özil, who they now perceive to be a dilettante, which doesn’t 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 Croatian’s relationship with Arsenal was after a protracted transfer that “went on too long,” as Modric himself put it.

On Tuesday evening, Mourinho spoke ahead of the Super Cup second leg to perhaps ease Modric’s mind a little. “We know what his preferred position is and it’s logical that he plays in his position. He’s not a left back nor a striker, he’ll play in his position.”

The transfer has been well received in most quarters - in Madrid to be more specific, with a column in Barcelona’s Mundo Deportivo grumbling that Florentino Pérez was supposed to be buying Spanish - with a clinical Marca claiming that Modric will be the “brain to give fluidity to the Whites attack.”

“What 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,” writes AS editor, Alfredo Relaño.

Nevertheless, Modric won’t be playing any part in Wednesday’s Barcelona clash. Instead it will mostly be the shower that have started the season. “My priority is to know whether what happened in Getafe was a one-off or to know if it’s a real problem with the psychological profile of some players or of the team,” warned Mourinho, who looks like he is not willing to tolerate a fourth game without a win to start the new campaign.

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