Luka Modric
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric suffered a muscular injury on Sunday. AFP / Jonathan NACKSTRAND

Real Madrid CF have been dealing with more than their fair share of injury troubles in the 2023-24 season. After losing a number of key players even before the campaign started, they continue to lose more players to a mixture of minor and long-term injuries as the season progresses. Now, star midfielder Luka Modric is the latest player to be affected.

The Croatian had one of his rare starts under Carlo Ancelotti this season, but unfortunately could not complete the full 90 minutes against Cadiz on Sunday night. After having an extraordinary evening out on the pitch, Modric had to be subbed off in the 70th minute in favour of Dani Ceballos.

He did not seem to be in a lot of pain, but he was seen talking to a number of his teammates and gesturing towards the left side of his body before eventually walking off the field.

The club has not issued an official assessment of the injury as yet, and it is expected that the player will undergo a number of tests upon the squad's return to the Spanish capital. However, in the post-match press conference, manager Carlo Ancelotti already assured fans that the knock did not appear to be too serious.

"Modric's issue was a muscle overload, nothing more. He played in a different position and was very good in defence," said the Italian.

According to AS, the issue stems from a "mild discomfort" on the the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner's left hip. The club is said to be "calm" about the situation, and the injury is not being considered to be serious at the moment.

More clarifications will likely be issued ahead of the club's UEFA Champions League clash against Napoli on Wednesday.

Missed opportunity for Modric

As mentioned earlier, Modric has unexpectedly been given a reduced role under Ancelotti this season. While there is no doubt that he is still one of the most important players in the squad, he has only been given five starts in 14 league matches so far this season. He came in as a sub in seven of those games.

In the Champions League, he has only started twice in four games, which is a far cry from the number of minutes he had previously been logging for the club.

The injury blow has now put a damper on his return to action. He was expected to gain more starts for Real Madrid in the coming weeks due to the injuries suffered by the likes of Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Arda Guler.

Modric showed that his quality has not dropped in the match against Cadiz, and Ancelotti would have been given the opportunity to show that he has been right in trying to preserve his players for the lengthy campaign. Real Madrid has a deep bench especially in the midfield, and any manager who can afford to keep a player like Modric in his back pocket is blessed beyond belief.

Now, the Italian will be hoping that the injury is indeed minor, and he can finally pull up that card and unleash the Croatian in the second half of the season where it truly matters.

Modric may have been suffering from a bit of fatigue after coming back from the international break, where he played a total of 175 minutes for Croatia. Ancelotti may opt to rest him against Napoli this week, especially since Los Blancos have already sealed qualification into the knockout stage.

Modric continues to break records

Of course, one has to consider just how impressive Modric is for playing at his level while already being 38 years old. He is the second oldest player to even suit up for Los Blancos in a league match. He is only trailing behind club legend Ferenc Puskas, who was still playing at 39 years and 36 days.