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Midfield maestro Luka Modric has for many years dictated play for Real Madrid in the middle of the park, and the Croatian star has formed a reputation for being a top playmaker.
However, Modric went missing in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final clash against Chelsea.
Modric who often dictates play only had 72 touches of the ball throughout the game. That’s significantly fewer than his midfield partner Toni Kroos who had 113.
Interestingly, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel rolled out a surprise tactical plan for the game against the Los Blancos. He deployed Mason Mount in a deeper role in midfield, and Mount ensured that Modric had no breathing space.
Tuchel deployed Mount in a midfield three with Jorginho at the base and Kante playing as right-sided No.8, against a formidable Real Madrid trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.
Chelsea hero Pat Nevin hailed Mount for his performance in that game against a midfield general in Luka Modric.
“Luka Modric, he’s a fabulous, fabulous player,” Nevin told Chelsea’s Matchday Live after the game.
“But he’ll wake up in the morning and think Mason Mount followed him to bed last night.
“Mason Mount just ran all night long and closed them down.
“I told you, sometimes you look at [opposition] players in the eye and you go, ‘Got you. I’ve got you.”
“And Mason had them.
“That’s a bit of worry if you’re [Zinedine] Zidane, going away from home at Chelsea [in the second leg].
“[He’d be] thinking, ‘I planning against a team, away from home, and they’ve given more energy than us.’”
“That’s a worry.”