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Correct use of Luka Modric makes La Liga title Real Madrid’s

| 04.02.2014

Real Madrid are going to win La Liga this season and Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will not be able to claim anywhere near as much of the credit for doing so as expected.

Instead, it’ll be Los Blancos’ Croatian midfielder Luka Modric who can be thanked for overhauling the current three-point gap that is wedged between Carlo Ancelotti’s side and the current leaders, Atletico Madrid. Real are currently 13/10 to claim the league title.

Modric has made 54 league appearances for the Spanish giants in his career, but it is only now – under his second manager at the club – that he’s being used most effectively.

During Jose Mourinho’s time at the Bernabeu the Portuguese was picked as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation, deployed either in the deep lying two or in rotation with Mesut Ozil as the creative hub behind the striker.

Neither of these worked. In the two, any natural instinct to move forward would leave partner Xabi Alonso painfully exposed defensively. But holding his position achieved nothing but stunting his talent, reducing him to an ineffective anchor man.

His time as the number 10 was ill-fated too, having never really played the position before and afforded little time to adapt due to Ozil’s might.

In a new dawn under Ancelotti, the former Spurs man is thriving as part of a flat midfield three, alongside Alonso and Angel Di Maria.

Now, Modric can operate deeper in midfield, where there is generally more space, or move forward without sacrificing defensive protection.

The result is that the former Spurs man can utilise his sharp and varied skill set to full effect. A superb passer, sitting deeper alongside two team-mates allows him to flex his creative muscles, while he can also drift further forward to use his dynamism to create space between himself and defenders, before feeding two of the best players on the planet.

His six assists this season shows just how effective he has become, and a continuation of this form will be a huge factor in landing the league’s silverware.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.