Luka Modric has been named as Real Madrid’s number 10 following James Rodriguez’s two-year loan move to Bayern Munich.
The club’s decision to give Modric the shirt traditionally worn by Madrid’s most creative player suggests that coach Zinedine Zidane sees no way back for James, while further boosting the Croatian playmaker’s profile as one of the team’s most influential stars.
The shirt famously worn by Bernabeu luminaries including Ferenc Puskas, Michael Laudrup, Clarence Seedorf and Luis Figo has been referred to as “cursed” by the club’s supporters in recent seasons, following the failure of successive number 10s to live up to expectations.
Robinho, Wesley Sneijder, Mesut Ozil and James all arrived as marquee signings but left after disappointing spells, with the Colombian heading to Germany to link up with former Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti after falling out of favour under Zidane last season.
Modric, 31, joined Madrid from Tottenham in 2012 and has since helped the club to three Champions League triumphs and last season’s LaLiga title.
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