‘We will kill them at the Bernabeu’: Luka Modric reveals the secrets behind Real Madrid’s astonishing 2021-22 Champions League win as the timeless midfielder says players knew they could harness home atmosphere to overturn deficits
- Real Madrid came from behind to knockout PSG and Manchester City last season
- Luka Modric has spoken of the belief the players had in the home legs of the ties
- They claimed their 14th European crown scarcely believable circumstances
Luka Modric has revealed the reasons behind Real Madrid’s astonishing route to their 14th Champions League crown last season.
The midfielder was ever-present as the club knocked out Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City en-route to the Paris final, where they beat Liverpool 1-0.
Trailing against PSG and Manchester City, Real Madrid staged remarkable fight-backs in a matter of minutes to change the direction of both ties. In the quarter-final, Chelsea had threatened to do what the hosts had done to PSG, but a Rodrygo and Karim Benzema rescue act stopped the English giants in their tracks, with the Spanish club advancing 5-4 on aggregate.
Exuding a feeling of never lying down and refusing to be beaten, Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the final in Paris to claim their 14th crown. Modric has been present for five of them.
Speaking to Rio Ferdinand as part of his Between The Lines series ahead of Real Madrid’s meeting with Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night, the Croatian revealed the squad were motivated by the suggestions that they were ‘finished’ and ‘dead’ in each of the ties.
Luka Modric has spoken about Real Madrid’s astonishing journey to triumph in the Champions League last season
Real Madrid knocked out Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City on the way to the final
The midfielder was ever-present as Real Madrid claimed their 14th Champions League crown
‘Everyone was favourite against us,’ he said. ‘I think this year what happened it was difficult to describe.
‘Everyone wrote us off. That’s why this celebration (against PSG after the third goal), it comes naturally because everyone wrote us off. “They are dead. Modric should retire, Kroos cannot play.” Then you are emotional.’
Despite forming part of one of the most successful club sides of the modern era, Modric said that he had been motivated by a feeling that he still had something to prove, even then at the age of 36.
‘Of course you want to prove [something]. We had something to prove here. Me, the team, everyone. Because everyone was saying we are dead, we are finished. It gives you something inside that you want to prove that it is not the case.
‘The way we won this one it is really difficult to explain what we did, because in all the games we were finished.
‘Everyone backed PSG, Chelsea, City and Liverpool [in the final]. That’s why it was special – the way we did it. Every time losing, against PSG, Chelsea and City – the game against Paris we turned it around in three minutes. Against City we scored two in three minutes, we could have scored a third without extra time.
‘It was really something special about that year.’
Speaking about his own role in the fight-backs, recording vital assists against both PSG and Chelsea, Modric said that Ancelotti, during his first spell with the club a decade ago had asked the Croatian to make more surging runs from deep.
‘I remember Carlo Ancelotti, when he first came to Madrid, he always asked me when I got the ball in deeper positions to run with the ball. That’s what I did here, intercept the pass to Neymar and run with the ball. Pass to Karim was good, and if he doesn’t score then nobody talks.’
Asked why the team were able to stage such miraculous and seemingly impossible fight backs, Modric pointed to the home crowd in Madrid as part of the reason for their success.
‘I know at Bernabeu we have to show our offensive quality and I knew they would suffer (PSG) if we had to come out and perform,’ he said.
He revealed after being taken off at the Parc des Princes that he turned to team-mate Dani Carvajal and said ‘we will kill them at the Bernabeu’.
‘Also, the fans played an important role because our fans are very demanding. Sometimes when things don’t go our way they can be… But this season was something unbelievable, it was different – it was amazing.’
Despite the miraculous nature of the club’s 14th triumph in the competition, Modric maintains that his favourite of his five Champions League wins was his first – and, crucially, the clubs 10th, or ‘La Decima’ in Lisbon in 2014.
Chelsea’s players collapse to their haunches after being on the end of a remarkable Real Madrid rescue act
Modric spoke about the energy he has in games and how he manages to keep on going
Karim Benzema was imperative – scoring goals in all three ties to ensure Real Madrid’s path
Carlo Ancelotti goes to greet Benzema and Modric – the Croatian revealed the wild celebrations were owing to them being written off
Rodrygo scored a vital goal against Chelsea from a Modric pass to force extra-time on the night
Despite the remarkable nature of last season’s triumph Modric said 2014 remains his favourite
Modric claimed the fifth Champions League crown of his career against Liverpool in Paris
‘It was different. For me the best one was La Decima. Special number, I like the number. The Real Madrid waited 12 or something years to win it,’ he said.
Asked about his tireless energy in the centre of midfield for Real Madrid, sometimes against much younger opponents, Modric revealed that he finds himself growing in energy as games wear on, not offering much respite to opponents who hope, at the age of 37, that he might be nearing a permanent spot in a dugout or in a television studio.
‘It’s interesting, the more the game passes on, I feel better and with more energy. Yeah, that’s why (get stronger as the game goes on).’
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