You would think that for a world record fee of £86 million, it would make you star of the show – or maybe runner up considering the team that Gareth Bale plays in also contains Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, yet it has not.
Then again, last season, the money paid for Luka Modric was supposed to have the same effect for the Croat as well – and it did not. This season however, Modric has been majestical, sublime and a joy to watch.
He has been the standout player in a Real Madrid team that not only contains a host of world class players, but is also coming together rather nicely at a key part of the season. They may have looked out of the title race a few months ago, but now they are being tipped to lift the Liga title and reign supreme in Spain once again.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side is a work in progress – the Italian had several tasks when he came in the summer and took over from Jose Mourinho – and had to restore harmony to the side to boot. Not an easy task at the best of times, but at the Santiago Bernabeu? Nearly impossible.
Well the former Chelsea manager succeeded in doing so, and even managed to keep Iker Casillas on the bench in the process – well in the league at least.
It speaks to the form of Diego Lopez that the Saint of Madrid has still been kept out of league games, despite not conceding a goal at all en route to the final of the Copa Del Rey. Lopez meanwhile has managed to only concede two league goals since the turn of the year.
The defence is looking better, Daniel Carvajal is proving his worth with every passing game and the return of Xabi Alonso was absolutely huge for the club. Given how badly they missed him during his injury time out – and how little the layoff of Sami Khedira is causing issues in comparison, it is not exactly a surprise that the board subsequently went on ‘operation keep Alonso’ at the club and duly succeeded.
Ronaldo has been as good as ever, and in the absence of a big name striker arriving in the summer, it has been former Castilla player Jese who has stepped up to win the hearts of the fans, the media and his teammates.
The young star has been prolific and was at one time billed as one for the future. Clearly on displays of this season, he is one for the now. Alvaro Morata meanwhile is clearly not.
That of course brings us back to Bale and Modric. Bale has seen his season interrupted with injuries, yet when he has been fit, we have seen glimpses of what the Welshman can do. Quite if it is an £86 million glimpse remains to be seen, but that is not Bale’s fault.
Modric has outshone all around him – Isco cannot get into the side half the time, and can have no arguments about that.
It may well be the fact that Modric initially did not have time to settle into life at one of the biggest clubs in the world – it is not only the language and culture of Spain, it is the press and the constant, ever present attention being a Los Blancos player brings. It is a huge thing for anyone to get used to – let alone someone who has arrived from a club that is not even the biggest in North London.
Having once been voted the second worst signing of the summer in Spain (behind Alex Song, who still holds that title) Modric can now reply to his doubters ten fold. Come this time next season, smart money is on Gareth Bale being able to do exactly the same.
Has the emergence of Modric given Bale hope? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.