Remembering when Luka Modric was voted La Liga’s worst signing of the season

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Luka Modric is without a doubt one of the greatest players of his generation, he was the first and the only player to brake the Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo duopoly and to win the Ballon d’Or in their era of dominance in the biggest stage.

Nowadays Madrid fans regard Modric as one of their most important players of the decade.

However, do you know that he was once voted the worst summer signing in La Liga?

Modric moved from Dinamo Zagreb to Spurs in the summer of 2008 for £16.5 million, then a joint record fee for Spurs, and after early struggles with form and fitness, leading people to say he was too lightweight for the Premier League, he soon become one of the leading lights of the English top tier.

Modric also starred for his national team as they pipped England to qualification for Euro 2008 before playing a key role in elevating Spurs to Champions League contenders for the first time in the Premier League era.

After four years in England, Chelsea came calling for £40 million, but Tottenham were definitive in not wanting to sell him to their London rivals, and sold Modric to Real Madrid for £30million fee.

While in Madrid, Mourinho had knocked Barcelona off their perch, and in some style. Real Madrid won the 2011-12 league title with a record 100 points and 121 goals scored. They were arguably the most brutally efficient counter-attacking side in the history of the game. Everything looked set for Madrid to dominate for years to come.

However, on arriving at the Bernabeu, he was shielded behind the shadow of Mesut Ozil-the wonder player under Jose Mourinho that season. By the winter break at the end of December he’d made just 19 appearances, playing on average 38 minutes a game and scoring just the one goal.

By Christmas, Modric had mustered just one goal and one assist and found himself on the fringes of Mourinho’s preferred XI. Madrid went a shocking 18 points behind league leaders Barca and blame had to be found somewhere.

It was at that point that Madrid-based sports daily Marca ran their infamous ‘worst signing of the season’ poll. Modric topped the list – ahead of Barcelona’s Alex Song, no less – after gaining 32% of the vote.

“This is Real Madrid. I understand there is great pressure for new signings to succeed here,” Modric responded in the Croatian press.

“I’m not making excuses, I am not that kind of person, but it is very challenging to adapt to life at a big club like Madrid. I have had a few good performances, if not in every game, but I believe that I can prove I have something to offer.”

It’s fair to say he kept to his word when proving that he had something to offer his team, and has ended up as one of the most successful players in the world, winning five Champions League titles, three La Ligas and many more with the club.

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