Real Madrid: How Bad Advice Led to the Demise of Luka Modric and Nuri Sahin
Don’t underestimate how pivotal bad advice has been in the demise of Luka Modrić and Nuri Şahin at Real Madrid.
You’re right, Şahin didn’t get a fair run at Los Blancos, hence why he’s back on loan with Borussia Dortmund.
But, it wasn’t just José Mourinho’s stubbornness and the Turk’s injuries, Nuri got himself into that unfortunate predicament by listening to bad advice.
Modrić’s unwavering belief that the grass is greener on the other side has put a halt to his career. Unless, he turns it around ASAP, he won’t be playing in a Los Merengues shirt next season.
This article will argue how Luka and Nuri precipitated their downfall by taking bad advice.
Bitter Feud with Daniel Levy Clouded Luka Modrić's Judgement
Michael Regan/Getty Images
When Luka Modrić claimed Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy broke a "gentleman's agreement" of bowing down to transfer bids from bigger clubs like Chelsea, you had to roll your eyes at Luka's naivety.
A year earlier, Modrić extended his contract to 2016, stating (via BBC Sport):
Tottenham Hotspur gave me my chance in the Premier League and I want to go on to achieve great success here with them.
Last season's top four finish was an indication of where we are as a club and I feel I can continue to improve and go on to achieve everything I want to at Spurs.
Yes, there have been enquiries from other big clubs, but I have no interest in going anywhere.
Luka wanted to be portrayed in a sympathetic light by painting Levy as a conniving figure devoid of any morals.
Didn't Modrić know that was the job description of the man making the big calls at a club worth £352 million?
If Luka was right about this supposed "gentleman's agreement" with Levy, then the Croatian conned Spurs fans into thinking he was there for the long-run.
The primary objective of Modrić's outburst was to compensate the power he gave away to Levy on May 30, 2010.
The contract extension meant the Croatian had little to no say in his final destination.
In a way, it was like the situation Robinho was in at Real Madrid.
He begged, pleaded, yelled and even cried (something he denies) for a move away from Los Blancos.
Then-Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón disingenuously suggested a scenario where the Brazilian bought out his own contract—only €150 million.
Chelsea were in pole position to sign Robinho, an issue Calderón took exception to, due to the Blues being legitimate UEFA Champions League contenders.
When Chelsea started selling Robinho shirts before the deal had even been finalised, Ramón being Ramón, flipped the Blues off and sold Pelé's heir apparent to UEFA Cup competing Manchester City.
Even though Robinho's preference was to play at Stamford Bridge under compatriot Luiz Felipe Scolari, the forward reluctantly moved to City because he didn't want to stay at Madrid.
He didn't even play out two seasons at Eastlands.
Back to Luka.
He didn't care that Arjen Robben, Dejan Petković, Émerson, Flávio Conceição, Júlio Baptista, Rafael van der Vaart, Robinho, Wesley Sneijder, Zé Roberto and other world-class talents had failed to live up to expectations at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Nor did Modrić stop and contemplate that he didn't fit what José Mourinho saw in a pivot—big, strong, powerful and robust in the tackle.
Luka's bitter feud with Levy meant the Croatian only considered advice pushing him to sign with the Spanish giants—in his mind, he had no other choice, since Chelsea wasn't an option.
Except, there was another choice. In fact, quite a lucid one—stay with Spurs!
Nuri Şahin Overestimated His Potential Impact at Real Madrid
The interchanging attacking midfielders of Mario Götze, Shinji Kagawa and Kevin Großkreutz were empowered by Nuri Şahin's ability to create from a deep-lying position.
Jakub Błaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski also featured prominently in the campaign. Remember, Lewandowski was still trying to beat out Lucas Barrios for the No. 9 role.
Nuri provided 104 shots at an average of 3.5 key passes per game, which was better than Xavi (2.4), Luka Modrić (2.1) and Xabi Alonso (1.6).
Şahin was the cog in Jürgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund on route to the manager's first Bundesliga triumph.
By the end of the 2010-11 season, Nuri was WhoScored's highest rated player, kicker's third-best Bundesliga footballer, and Bild's equal fourth-ranked player of the season.
He achieved these accolades whilst missing the last eight Matchdays due to knee ligament damage.
To think this was the same player who was rendered obsolete by former manager Thomas Doll.
In the space of several years, Şahin went from doubting his ability as a BVB player to entertaining the realistic idea of playing for a more prestigious club like Real Madrid.
There's a line Nuri gives to The Sun's Antony Kastrinakis which resonates with the Turk's decision to sign with Real Madrid: "Agents rang up every day and promised to sell me to God and every club in the world."
To put the quote in context, this was prior to him becoming an established star.
As he watched his teammates secure the Bundesliga title, he began to buy the bill of goods sold by people whose interests were in themselves, not Nuri's long-term future.
Şahin had leeway to fail with Dortmund should his knees give way, which they did twice at Real Madrid, but José Mourinho didn't have the same affection for the midfielder as Klopp and Bert van Marwijk did.
This isn't retrospective analysis because if you polled 100 Bundesliga experts at the time of the transfer, 90-95 percent of them would have told you this was an excellent move for Los Blancos but a terrible choice for Nuri.
Şahin would have been 14 years old when an unhappy Flávio Conceição—the €26 million man from Real Madrid—arrived at the Westfalenstadion on a loan stint.
A decade later, Şahin finds himself in a similar situation to Conceição.
Did Luka Modrić and Nuri Şahin Fail?
To say Luka Modrić and Nuri Şahin have failed at Real Madrid is contrary to fact.
You know who failed? Los Blancos management who've mismanaged two exceptionally gifted players.
32.2 percent of Marca readers voted Modrić as La Liga's worst signing of 2012 but if he arrived on a Bosman, he wouldn't have received the denigrating title.
Luka, a world-class deep-lying playmaker at Tottenham Hotspur, has started several games out of position in the No. 10 role.
He has completed 86.5 percent of his passes in league-play and 89.2 percent in UEFA Champions League games, so it's not like he's regressed to the point of no return.
How about that 4-1 win over Ajax? He dominated midfield proceedings.
It's the outrageously inflated transfer fee (props to Daniel Levy), in an arduous economical climate, which heavily factors against Modrić in the court of public opinion (understandably so).
José Mourinho discussed Şahin's hapless situation last August and alluded to the Turk not being afforded a fair shot (via ESPN FC):
He wants to play to be happy.
And in Real Madrid with Xabi Alonso, with Sami Khedira, with Lassana Diarra, Esteban Granero, Mesut Özil, the situation is not easy.
Real Madrid is very difficult. It is not an easy club, because we demand a lot. We have great players, and when you don't start well, it is difficult to do it.
Decide what you want to decide, to be happy.
If you decide to leave we are going to help you to leave. If you decide to stay, we are going to support you and try to succeed this season.
Şahin came to Liverpool without much form and looked out of sync.
The only impression he left on Reds supporters was how immaculate his hair was.
"He should've received more playing time than Joe Allen!"
Brendan Rodgers will continue to give Allen a chance because it's in BR's best interest to validate the £15 million spent on the former Swansea City midfielder.
Plus, Joe is on a long-term contract whilst Nuri came on a loan deal.
Modrić and Şahin also arrived an awkward time with the Real Madrid dressing room being in a state of disarray.
Their development at the club wasn't Mourinho priority. It may have been different if they were represented by Jorge Mendes.
Both Luka and Nuri have become familiar with the proverb: "All that glitters is not gold."
Gareth Bale and Robert Lewandowski, I hope you guys are paying attention.
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Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com