Modric expects Real Madrid's midfield to thrive despite Casemiro exit

·2-min read

Luka Modric believes Real Madrid are well-equipped to thrive in the aftermath of Casemiro's move to Manchester United, as he praised Los Blancos' midfield options.

Casemiro left Madrid to join United in a £60million (€70m) move last month, but his departure has not stopped Carlo Ancelotti's men from making a strong start to the new season.

Ahead of Sunday's home clash with Mallorca, Madrid have won all four of their games in LaLiga and began their Champions League defence with a 3-0 thrashing of Celtic on Tuesday.

Madrid are the only team with a 100 per cent record in the top five European leagues this season, and are now bidding to win their opening five league matches for just the second time in the 21st century, having also done so in 2009-10.

The likes of Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde have stepped up in Casemiro's absence.

Of Madrid's midfielders, new signing Tchouameni leads the way for minutes played in LaLiga this season (328), followed by Valverde (265), Modric (260) and Camavinga (222). All four have made more starts than the two managed by Toni Kroos, who has played 173 minutes.

Modric believes the strength of Madrid's options means Casemiro will not be missed, telling the club's website: "We've started really well this year and we have a strong team.

"In midfield, we lost an important player in Casemiro, but we've got a lot of other good players to replace him and do a good job.

"Tchouameni has adapted really well. This is Camavinga's second year and he had a great first year.

"Kroos has been here for a long time. Valverde is also doing really well in any position. [Dani] Ceballos is helping the team a lot, so we're well-equipped in this position."

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard capped Madrid's trip to Celtic by finishing off a 33-pass move for their third goal. Since Opta data began in 2003-04, that is the longest uninterrupted build-up to any of Madrid's 434 goals in the competition.

But speaking on Saturday, Ancelotti insisted the Belgium forward's strike was not representative of a change in Madrid's style of play.

"Madrid deserves the credit it gets but scoring a goal from a 33-pass play doesn't mean that's our whole identity," the Madrid boss said.

"The game was almost over and we wanted to finish it out with a long spell of possession, but the stats say it's easier to score in under 10 passes. The numbers show very few goals come from over 10 passes.

"You could say that playing a possession-based game has been fashionable and has seen success in recent years, but football is changing and it's more direct.

"Possession football is less popular than it has been recently in every country."