Zinedine Zidane blown away by Luka Modric: “He’s 35 years but you can’t see that on the pitch”

Real Madrid have entered their favourite time of the season, and they still have a lot to play for. This evening they welcomed Italian side Atalanta to Valdebebas for their Champions League last 16 second leg, having won 1-0 in the first leg in Bergamo.

Zinedine Zidane’s men secured a comfortable and confident 3-1 win to secure their place in the quarter finals and rebuke the notion that Spanish football is dead and buried. Los Blancos took a two-goal lead inside the opening hour and quickly quelled any notion of a comeback from the visitors.

Atalanta had started well, playing without fear, but were punished for a loose ball just after the half-hour. Luka Modric seized upon it before funnelling it to Karim Benzema, who finished like the ruthless forward he is.

Toni Kroos

Another member of the old guard so trusted by Zidane contributed soon after, with Sergio Ramos adding Madrid’s second in the 60th minute. Vinicius won a penalty after a mazy run, and the Andalusian, just-returned from injury, duly converted.

Madrid may have been forgiven for thinking it was over, but it wasn’t. Atalanta pulled one back late on through Luis Muriel, who scored with a well-struck free-kick in the 83rd minute.

Zidane didn’t even have time to get nervous, however, with his team replying immediately with a goal from substitute Marco Asensio to restore their two-goal lead and put them out of sight.

Vinicius

“I congratulated the players because they played a great game from start to finish against a team that demands a lot from you physically,” Zidane said post-match as carried by Marca.

“In they end I think they didn’t have many chances, just the [Duvan] Zapata chance, just one. They normally create a lot of scoring chances but tonight we haven’t seen that. We made good plays and felt good offensively.

“Luka and Toni [Kroos] were phenomenal in the double pivot, Case has goals in him and with him we play differently [he was suspended]. You’re asking me about Luka? He’s a player. He’s 35 years but you can’t see that on the pitch.”

Tags Champions League La Liga Luka Modric Real Madrid Zinedine Zidane