Who is a better player Iniesta or Modric
There are days when Ivan Rakitic cannot see his midfield partner Luka Modric. And that happens more often than you might think, in the past season alone on potentially 43 days. "I don't like seeing Luka in a Real Madrid shirt," Rakitic confessed to El País newspaper.
The reason: Ivan Rakitic has been employed by FC Barcelona since 2014, while his national team colleague Luka Modric has been playing for Real Madrid since 2012, for the club that Rakitic's employer, FC Barcelona, sees as a natural enemy - and whose interests Modric is in defended in 43 competitive games last season. That hurts not only Rakitic in Barcelona. Because the now deceased father of the Barcelonismo, Dutchman Johan Cruyff, had pushed for Modric's signing when the current captain of the Croatian national team was still playing for Dinamo Zagreb.
At the moment, Rakitic has no problem seeing Modric. Modric, 32, and Rakitic, 30, one in Zadar, the other in Switzerland, wear the same shirt at the World Cup in Russia - the checkerboard pattern of the Croatian team. "When Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic play for their country, they forget that they are rivals in Spain. They transform into one body and one soul," said Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic.
For Rakitic, Modric is "Croatia's best player of all time"
The fact that the Croatians are playing for a place in the World Cup final in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium this Wednesday (8 p.m. / ZDF) actually has to do with the fact that the two have complemented each other in the tournament so far and developed an appreciation for each other have that reaches immeasurably. "Luka is not only our best player and captain, for me he is also the best Croatian player of all time," said Rakitic these days: "He makes every player better who plays by his side. It is a pleasure to be with him to play"
The fact that Modric and Rakitic shine together at the World Cup like never before - and probably form the best creative midfield duo at a World Cup since Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández became world champions with Spain in 2010 in South Africa - has a lot to do with Dalic. After he took over the office in October 2017 and led the Croatians through the agony of relegation to Russia, he made a decision that freed the talent of the two.
Instead of letting Rakitic and Modric act as double-sixs - i.e. in front of their own defense - as his predecessor Ante Cacic had ordered, Dalic put Marcelo Brozovic in front of the defense. And he gave Rakitic and Modric the greatest possible freedom for such well-coordinated approaches that you don't know whether they are following a rehearsed or an intuitive choreography. Rakitic has so far used this freedom for one World Cup goal, Modric for two World Cup goals (and an assist).
In addition, both have shown amazing mental strength. In the penalty shootouts in the round of 16 and quarter-finals (against Denmark and Russia), both turned under particularly stressful conditions: In both games, Rakitic was responsible for starting the point as the fifth and decisive shooter. Modric faced Denmark, although he failed in extra time from the penalty spot on goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
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