Luka Modric v. Ivan Rakitic: Croatian El Clasico Returns Tonight

Daniela Rogulj

March 1, 2020 – Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic will meet for the 18th time in El Classico tonight, to be played at 9 pm at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

It was March 2019, exactly a year ago. Barcelona won at the Bernabeu and Ivan Rakitic scored the only goal of the game, reports 24 Sata.

“Setien, don’t forget about Raketa, he knows how to mess with Real,” read the headlines of Spanish media ahead of El Clasico on Sunday night.

And this is not by accident. Apart from the fact that Rakitic scored Barcelona’s last goal against Madrid, and it has been exactly one year since then, but he has scored four goals in his career against Real Madrid. The only club he has scored more against is Real Betis, recording five goals total. Rakitic is gaining momentum once again, and has started for Barcelona in the last two games, against Eibar and Napoli. All signs lead to him starting again against Real Madrid tonight.

The ‘Croatian El Clasico’ returns for its 18th episode. 

The first collision of Rakitic and Modric was in September 2012. Then, Rakitic was a star in Seville, while Luka Modric was going through tough times at Real Madrid. In that match, Luka came off the bench for Mesut Özil. Sevilla won 1:0, and Rakitic and Modric exchanged jerseys. Since then, they have played against each other 17 times – Rakitic celebrated nine times, four games ended in a draw, and Modric won four times.

If we were to compare the two players in La Liga this year, then Luka is more successful. Modric started in 13 games this season, playing an average of 63 minutes per game and scoring three goals. Rakitic, on the other hand, has not scored a single goal this season, has started only in nine games, and is playing 46 minutes per game.

The match tonight is a massive step towards the La Liga title. If Barcelona wins, they will be five points ahead and push Real Madrid into even bigger problems, potentially resulting in a Zinedine Zidane sacking. 

Thus, the story of Ivan and Luka continues. The story of two friends, whose intertwined football journey began in September 2007, when Croatia beat Estonia 2:0.

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