Luka Modric's injury-plagued season took another turn for the worse on April 18 when the Real Madrid star suffered a knee sprain in the club's match against Malaga. He was expected to return May 23, but Real Madrid kept him sidelined.
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Modric Out vs. Getafe
Saturday, May 23
Modric did not return as expected on May 23 against Getafe, the club announced. Manager Carlo Ancelotti told reporters April 25 he expected Modric to return against Getafe over the weekend of May 23, according to Phil Kitromilides of Real Madrid TV.
On April 21, Modric spoke for the first time about his latest injury setback, telling Croatian newspaper Sportske novosti (h/t Hugo Cerezo of Marca) he intended to play again this season:
I have to react immediately. I have to look at the positive side of things and motivate myself with the desire to return before the season ends.
Five or six weeks is the diagnosis in order to play. So we'll see how the championship goes, and see if I can't progress more quickly with my rehabilitation. I'm going to try as hard as I can to turn this tough situation around. And I won't hide the faith I have in my teammates; that they can get to the Champions League final, which is on 6th June.
There's no other choice. I'm not giving up on this season yet. I had some fantastic times from August to November. Then there was a break, then another long injury and now another. There's no reason not to believe I can have a good end to the season.
Ancelotti Criticised Over Modric Injury
Monday, April 20
The midfielder has missed a substantial chunk of the campaign with fitness problems and, according to the Croatian national team doctor Boris Nemec, his return to the team was not handled appropriately by Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti, per Nova TV (h/t AS):
Ancelotti did not spare Luka at all after he returned from a long-term injury.
He played 90 minutes in every game. Ancelotti put Modric under a lot of pressure, instead of giving him minutes bit by bit.
Modric was not injured because of the knocks he received but because he was not 100 per cent fit. If he hadn’t been overworked, his lower leg would not to move to the side under that tackle.
As noted by WhoScored.com, prior to the aforementioned clash with Malaga, the 29-year-old playmaker made seven appearances, playing the entire 90 minutes in just three of those fixtures.
Modric Diagnosed with Knee Sprain
Sunday, April 19
"Following tests carried out on Luka Modric at the La Moraleja Sanitas Hospital by Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been found to have a strain to the medial collateral ligament of his right knee. His situation will be monitored," Real Madrid announced on their official website.
The midfielder was enjoying an excellent season until Croatia's UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy in November, when he had to withdraw from the match in the first half with an apparent thigh injury.
That injury turned out to be significant, forcing the 29-year-old to spend nearly four months on the sideline.
Los Blancos used youngster Isco as a deep-lying midfielder next to Toni Kroos and continued their excellent run of results, but while Isco performed admirably, he doesn't have Modric's sheer passing range and vision.
He had never suffered a serious injury in the Real shirt before his thigh injury in 2014, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.