Luka Modric has committed his long-term future to Real Madrid by signing a new four-year deal with the club.
Madrid's official Twitter account reported the news:
Real Madrid C. F. announces the extension of Modrić’s contract, linking him to the club for the next four seasons pic.twitter.com/kAm2gGrqLK— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) August 20, 2014
Bleacher Report UK tweeted the image that confirms Modric's stay until at least 2018:
The Croatian midfielder is a key player at the Bernabeu and has rapidly improved since moving from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012. He regularly dictates possession through the centre, where he is able to break up play and control proceedings with his intelligent range of passing.
Modric fulfilled a key role in Madrid's success during the last campaign. He appeared in 11 Champions League matches along the club's run to La Decima, scoring one goal, providing three assists and racking up an impressive WhoScored.com average rating of 7.79. This amounted to the sixth-highest total across the entire competition and was No. 1 when solely judging midfielders.
While Real Madrid's European and Copa del Rey success saw them slump to third in La Liga, Modric also showed his creative side with another goal and six assists in the domestic division. Squawka highlights his ability to carve open opportunities:
Luka Modric created 47 chances in La Liga last season. Only K. Benzema (63), Isco (70) and A. Di María (90) created more for Real Madrid.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 20, 2014
WhoScored.com also noted his efficiency on the ball:
Luka Modric: Of the 91 players to attempt 50+ dribbles in La Liga last season, Modric had the best dribble success rate (70.7%) #rmcf— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 20, 2014
Modric provides a calming influence in a team that is crammed with speedy attacking talents who are always looking to break forward, and often keeps the ball ticking over by dropping into smidgens of space that others may fail to see.
He is the type of player who takes time to look up and evaluate the situation around him before playing the ball. It is expected Carlo Ancelotti will continue to utilise Modric in a midfield trio alongside Xabi Alonso and Toni Kroos—as we saw during the 1-1 Spanish Supercopa draw with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday—where he can break forward and influence play behind the offensive line.
Club Metro writer Chris Winterburn believes Modric will be asked to work harder without Sami Khedira in the team, however:
Lack of energy in Real's midfield, Modric going to be asked to get through a hell of a lot of running.— Chris Winterburn (@Chriswin4) August 19, 2014
Is Luka Modric Real Madrid's most important midfielder?
Modric's new contract could impact the aforementioned German, who is said to be on his way out of the Bernabeu, per Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC. Khedira provides legs in the middle of the pitch, his long strides often covering vital ground in defensive positions, but Alonso and Kroos' willingness to sit will likely task Modric with patrolling back and forth.
At 28 years old, Modric has committed the peak of his career to Madrid by signing the new deal. He is the type of player who utilises bursts of movement to outfox opponents, rather than dominant physicality, meaning he shouldn't be expected to slow down during the next four years. Similar to Alonso's positioning within the team now, Modric's reading of the game will remain key across coming seasons.
Should Real Madrid follow last year's success with further silverware, it's highly likely the Croatian will continue pulling the strings behind the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
Elite sides need those who selflessly propel their teammates to greatness, something Modric's unselfish play shows every single week. Despite a constantly changing squad, the midfielder's new contract suggests Ancelotti and the Madrid board want Modric to remain an indispensable constant on the club's road to success.