Sport Is Modric the best midfielder in the world?

08:15  10 july  2018
08:15  10 july  2018 Source:   goal.com

Modric blasts English journalists for lack of ‘respect’

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luka modric - cropped: Croatia midfielder Luka Modric © Provided by Goal Croatia midfielder Luka Modric

Croatia's run to their second World Cup semi-final has largely been inspired by the form of captain Luka Modric.

The Real Madrid star excelled for his club as they won a third Champions League in a row in 2017-18 and has continued to impress in Russia, helping his side to reach the last four for the first time since 1998.

The 32-year-old has been hailed by many onlookers as the best midfielder at the tournament and, consequently, the finest player in his position in the world. But is that a fair suggestion?

Using Opta data, we have compared Modric from last season and at the World Cup with four of the other leading central midfielders on the planet, all of whom play in the same multi-faceted role as the Croatia skipper: Kevin De Bruyne, Toni Kroos, Paul Pogba and David Silva.

Russia v Croatia: Match Preview

  Russia v Croatia: Match Preview Host nation Russia are bidding to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1966 when they take on Croatia in the last quarter-final of 2018. Both sides will know whether they would be facing either England or Sweden in a semi-final clash by the time kick-off arrives in the evening. Russia continued to defy the odds and progressed from the last 16 after a shock result against 2010 World Champions Spain, whom they overcame on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Croatia were nowhere near as inspiring in their match against Denmark compared to their fantastic group stage performances, but they also managed to progress via a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. Luka Modric had a penalty in extra time saved by Kasper Schmeichel but was amongst the scorers in the shootout as Croatia marched on. They are now looking to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1998. Both sides will sense a real opportunity here to reach the last four and a close encounter is surely on the cards. Having both won via penalties in the last 16, there will be no fear from either side heading into this fixture no matter how long it may take to separate the two nations. Russia are still set to be major underdogs in this clash but with the home support, they will be looking to take the game to a very clever Croatia outfit and deny them the space to control the game.

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IN ATTACK, CITY STARS RULE THE ROOST

It is probably not a huge surprise that, in terms of attacking numbers, De Bruyne and Silva were the pick of these players last season.

Pep Guardiola's dominant Manchester City side smashed records as they romped to the Premier League title, one of which was goals scored: they hit 106 in their 38 games.

Across all competitions, De Bruyne netted 12 of his side's goals, set up a further 21 and created a total of 139 chances, making him the clear winner in this category. Silva follows with 10 goals, 14 assists and 91 chances created.

Manchester United's Pogba managed six goals and 12 assists and created 52 chances, which are decent figures given his sometimes more defensive role under Jose Mourinho. Kroos scored five, assisted eight and created 100 chances, and Modric places last, with two goals, eight assists, and 60 chances created.

I am one of the world's best - Lovren

  I am one of the world's best - Lovren Croatia's Luka Modric deserves the Ballon d'Or, according to Dejan Lovren, who described himself as one of the world's best defenders.Dejan Lovren called for more recognition of his talents after he helped Croatia to a World Cup semi-final victory over England, describing himself as "one of the best defenders in the world".

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MODRIC THE LINCHPIN

Modric and Kroos leap to the top of the leaderboard when it comes to passing, though.

Modric's passing accuracy last season was at 90 per cent in all competitions, higher than that of De Bruyne (83), Silva (89) and Pogba (85). Kroos is top of the pile on a hugely impressive 93.

Madrid's duo also posted the highest accuracy of passes ending in the attacking third of the pitch, with Kroos on 88 per cent and Modric on 84. De Bruyne was the lowest, on 75.

GETTING STUCK IN

None of these players are allowed to neglect the defensive side of their game, which is reflected in some seriously strong statistics.

Modric won 185 duels last season, two more than Kroos and 31 more than Silva, but he is some way down on De Bruyne (251) and Pogba (273). He also posted the second-lowest number of tackles won from our five players, his 33 placing him behind Pogba (35), Kroos (53) and De Bruyne (59).

However, the former Tottenham man has a clear edge in interceptions. He managed 55 for Madrid in 2017-18, 12 more than nearest competitor De Bruyne and far above Silva and Pogba (26) and Kroos (23).

Croatia match preview v Denmark

  Croatia match preview v Denmark Croatia were one of only three teams that won all three group games along with Belgium and Uruguay. They also arguably had the toughest group in the World Cup and managed to produce good performances throughout those three games and maintain consistency. However, they play their first World Cup knockout game since 1998 and many expect them to win against fellow European side Denmark. In their last match against Iceland in Rostov, Croatia had a much changed team with only Modric and Perisic retaining their places in the team. Also in that last match the players who particularly impressed were Mateo Kovacic, Milan Badelj and Andrej Kramaric. Those three in particular would have given Dalic a headache after their good performances. There were a few key points and one of them was that, Luka Modric was very on form and one of the stars of the group stages and he benefitted massively from playing in a higher role in central-midfield. Against Nigeria and Argentina he scored and played the game in his own way and with some much freedom. There have a great balance to their side as they defend and attack well and do it equally as good. When they attack they have good numbers that go forward and when defending they have good numbers back which proves how organised and solid and adaptable they are to attacking and defending. Denmark in the group stages proved to be a tough nut to crack and a hard side to break down, so don’t expect Denmark first 60 to 70 minutes to do a lot of attacking but definetly more defending and more frustration and what for their moment to pounce if Croatia make errors. As they have done in their frist two games they have intended to attack and that will be the case tomorrow.

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These 10 midfielders are considered by fans and experts alike to be among the best in soccer. Resembling Xavi in style, Modric may not score as many goals as he should, but he compensates for that with tempo-setting performances that make him a precious commodity in world soccer.

WHAT ABOUT THE WORLD CUP?

Modric has two goals and one assist in Russia, putting him top of the pile (De Bruyne is nearest with one goal and an assist). He has also created 14 chances, bettered only by De Bruyne on 16.

Passing-wise, his accuracy rate of 86 per cent puts him above De Bruyne (81) and Pogba (78), but behind Silva (87) and Kroos (93). He is also third in our standings for passing accuracy in the final third.

On the defensive side of things, Modric has won 35 duels, which is bettered only by Pogba (39). And, although he is behind Pogba and Kroos for tackles won, he has made at least three more interceptions than any of the other players in this list.

All things considered, it is hard to argue against Modric being the most effective all-round midfielder at the World Cup, and perhaps the world.

Croatia’s World Cup: A story of sacrifice, contradiction and a bittersweet end for Modric .
Comeback Kings Croatia finally met their match in the World Cup final on Sunday. Luka Modrić earned himself the golden ball award but, like the national team, the midfield maestro's brilliance on the pitch is a medley of contradiction and admiration.Modrić and his team's journey to this point was stupendous, coated in contradiction and some downright weirdness, beginning with a story of a country that routinely punches above its weight on the global sporting state.

Source: http://uk.pressfrom.com/news/sport/-268545-is-modric-the-best-midfielder-in-the-world/

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