Real Madrid
High five: Luka Modric (right) has won five Champions League titles with Real Madrid AFP / Oli SCARFF

Real Madrid CF fans are bracing themselves for a major heartbreak that could be awaiting them at the end of the current campaign. Rumours are rife that veteran midfielder Luka Modric will be leaving the club at the end of the season, and a fitting farewell is already being prepared.

The the age of 38, it is expected that the Croatian midfield genius is nearing the end of his professional career. However, despite his age, Modric has not exactly suffered a dip in form, and has not even retired from international football.

Modric signed a one-year deal last season, which keeps him at the Santiago Bernabeu until the end of the current campaign. The short extension is customary for the club, which has been offering only one-year deals to many players over the age of 30 for many years, regardless of how good they are. The big exception would be Cristiano Ronaldo, who signed a long-term deal with the club back when he was already 31 years old. It has to be pointed out that he cut that deal short and moved to Saudi Arabia.

Last summer, it was reported that Modric turned down a highly lucrative deal to follow Ronaldo to the Saudi Pro League. Instead, he stayed with Real Madrid and was under the impression that he would enjoy the same level of importance as previous seasons.

However, as soon as the 2023/24 season got underway, it became clear that manager Carlo Ancelotti had other plans. Modric started from the bench more times than he ever did in over a decade with the club. Both he and midfield partner Toni Kroos started from the bench more times this season than they have in recent memory.

It was reported early in the season that the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner is unhappy with the situation, and Ancelotti also admitted that he had been unfair when it comes to player selection.

The Real Madrid midfield it teeming with fresh talent, with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni all logging more minutes than Modric this season. Kroos also managed to come back after a slow start, and has become a regular starter again as the season progressed.

Modric has started in only 15 out of 35 Real Madrid games this season, making it clear that he is enjoying far less playing time than ever before. There were reports late last year stating that the club will not offer an extension, but Los Blancos have not confirmed those rumours.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the inevitable is fast approaching and it may come as soon as this summer. The club is known to have a hard stance when it comes to veteran players, with former captain Sergio Ramos being forced to seek pastures new when he and the club failed to reach an agreement on his extension.

Another legendary veteran, Marcelo, also left the club at the age of 34 after 16 glorious seasons. Modric may be nearing the same fate, and according to murmurs in Spanish Media the announcement will be made early and a big tribute will be prepared.

Modric still makes a massive impact whenever he is given playing time, having already made seven goal contributions despite his limited playing time. Because of this, fans are inclined to think that he may not retire even if he does not stay with Real Madrid.

He did not appear to have a massive desire to head to Saudi Arabia, but a highly-lucrative offer may soon fall on his lap if he becomes available. Other European clubs will surely be interested, but not many will likely be willing nor able to match what Saudi clubs can offer.

Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States could also be an option, with Inter Miami keen on signing the world's best players.