Luka Modric has enjoyed a brilliant year.
The Croatian playmaker won the Champions League for the fourth time in his career in May before embarking on a brilliant run to the World Cup final.
Modric, 33, was rewarded for his efforts in Russia by winning the Golden Ball award.
The individual accolades didn’t stop there. The Real Madrid star has since added the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year and The Best FIFA Men’s Player awards to his collection.
Modric is the bookmakers’ favourite to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or, too, but his hopes may have been harmed by Real Madrid’s performances this season.
Los Blancos currently sit sixth in La Liga, having lost four of their opening 11 matches.
Julen Lopetegui, who replaced Zinedine Zidane in the summer, has already been sacked and the hole that Cristiano Ronaldo vacated hasn’t been filled.
Spanish media rip Modric
It’s early enough for Real to salvage the season but they’re going to need their star players to step up.
And that includes Modric, who has been heavily criticised by the Spanish media for his recent displays.
Barcelona-based outlet Sport have offered a brutal assessment of Modric and three other Real stars - Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio.
“Modric is a shell of his past self. Slow, without ideas, passive, no energy. He’s disappeared,” they write.
“The Croatian has lost freshness and agility to move the ball and the play collapses on him.
“He wanted to go to Inter in the summer and maybe Madrid should have let him.”
For a player who beat Ronaldo to win FIFA’s main individual prize in September, that’s a real concern.
It was just a few months ago that Modric was leading Croatia to the World Cup final with a number of inspired displays.
The assessment of Ramos isn’t much better.
“Ramos is a dangerous player for his own team at the back, bringing insecurity and chaos,” Sport write.
They also dub Asensio “Marco Absentio”, while Bale is “his same disappointing self”.
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