Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti likened Luka Modric to Paolo Maldini as he declared the Croatian midfielder would end his career at Real Madrid – also insisting he has no problem with Toni Kroos.
Ahead of the trip to Sevilla on Sunday, Ancelotti spoke positively about both midfielders who have put Madrid in a strong position to claim LaLiga and UEFA Champions League fame.
There was an altercation between Ancelotti and Kroos in Tuesday’s Champions League match against Chelsea when the former Germany international was reportedly insulted by the coach as he left the pitch.
Ancelotti emphasized that the decision was promptly resolved, meaning that there was no risk of Kroos and Modric from starting together when Madrid’s top leaders face Sevilla in third place.
With Madrid advancing to the European semi-finals after extra time, despite losing 3-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ancelotti’s decision to replace Eduardo Camavinga with Kroos seemed justified.
The change came with Madrid 2-0 at the back and facing relegation. Modric played every 120 minutes, and the 36-year-old is still as influential as ever in the heart of the team.
Speaking to Kroos, Ancelotti said on Saturday: “His action did not bother me. He was angry with the coach but not with the man.
“Even in sports he is a very good person, I don’t have to talk to him or ask him for explanations, it’s all over after the game.
Kroos, 32, and Modric have been heartbroken for the Madrid midfielder, and that will remain the case next season.
Although Modric is now at the professional level of his career, Ancelotti sees that as a positive rather than a weak one.
“I think he’ll end his career here, I don’t know when but that’s everyone’s idea,” Ancelotti said. “There is no problem with the team, neither he nor he having to revive it, that is very clear.
“He takes great care of himself, in his work he has never been seriously injured and that helps him a lot.”
Comparing him to Maldini, Ancelotti said: “I had a football history, who won the last Champions League at the age of 40. If I had to compare him to anyone, it could be him: for quality, for importance, for the way he understood football. They are legends.”
Ancelotti coached Maldini in Milan, having previously played for the same team as a full-back who played 902 games for the Rossoneri.
In fact, Maldini was 38 years old when he helped Milan win the fifth European Cup / Champions League in his career, but he played until he was 40 years old.
Madrid enter Sunday with a 12-point lead over LaLiga, with Barcelona and Sevilla close rivals but both are now in second place.
Ancelotti, who was re-elected to Madrid last June, has won six of seven games as a coach against Sevilla in all competitions (L1).
Sevilla, on the other hand, failed to win any of the last six meetings with Real Madrid in LaLiga (D1 L5), their worst undefeated race since playing 15 games between May 1993 and April 2003 (D2 L13), which is the longest match. Los Blancos in the history of this tournament are as barren.