Luka Modric has become the latest Real Madrid player to be struck down by injury ahead of an important run of matches.

Tests undertaken on Thursday confirmed an adductor issue for midfielder Modric, who looks highly likely to miss this weekend's LaLiga fixture against Levante.

Zinedine Zidane's men then commence their Champions League campaign away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, before returning to Spain for a tough trip to Sevilla.

Modric, 34, completed two full matches for Croatia during the international break but now joins Isco, Marco Asensio and Brahim Diaz in the treatment room, while James Rodriguez and Eden Hazard have also suffered in recent weeks.

Madrid's statement read: "Following the tests carried out on our player Luka Modric by Real Madrid's medical department, he has been diagnosed with a muscular injury to the adductor in his right leg.

"His recovery will continue to be assessed."

Modric's appearances in Euro 2020 qualifying for Croatia included a goal against Azerbaijan, the Ballon d'Or winner converting a penalty in the 1-1 draw.

Ivan Rakitic pulled out of the Croatia squad over uncertainty about his Barcelona future, Zlatko Dalic has confirmed.

Croatia's head coach revealed rumoured Juventus target Rakitic would not be able to focus on the national team until his club situation is resolved.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde has only used Rakitic, who was reportedly offered to Paris Saint-Germain in a proposed deal for Neymar, for 44 minutes over the course of the club's three LaLiga matches this season.

Serie A champions Juve are thought to be interested and the Italian giants have until 20:00 local time (19:00 BST) Monday to finalise a deal before the transfer window shuts.

"I talked to Rakitic, who has not yet resolved his status at the club and is not ready for the national team at the moment and would not be able to give his maximum," Dalic told a news conference.

"I do not have time now to deal with what will happen in the future. Hopefully it will work out for the best."

Rakitic is not the only Croatia midfielder unavailable for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Azerbaijan.

Vatreni medical staff assessed Mateo Kovacic following his arrival in camp and diagnosed the Chelsea player with an inflamed Achilles tendon in his right leg.

The 25-year-old played 83 minutes of Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw against Sheffield United.

Mijo Caktas replaces Kovacic in the squad, while Marko Rog is in for Rakitic.

Croatia, World Cup finalists in 2018, sit third in Group E with six points from three games.

Ryan Giggs was left to rue missed chances as his Wales side went down 2-1 to Croatia in Euro 2020 qualifying on Saturday.

Croatia lost their last Group E game against Hungary in March, but returned to winning ways against Wales, with Ivan Perisic at the heart of things.

Having seen his cross deflect in off James Lawrence for Croatia's opener in the first half, Perisic got on the scoresheet himself shortly after the interval, with David Brooks' deflected strike proving a mere consolation.

While Croatia had plenty of opportunities themselves, matters might have been different had Harry Wilson done better with an early volley, while Gareth Bale also passed up a presentable chance and Brooks flapped at a chance to double his tally and salvage a point late on.

And Giggs was frustrated with his side's profligacy as Wales slipped to a first defeat of their qualification campaign.

"I'm obviously disappointed not to get something out of the game with the chances we had," Giggs told reporters.

"We looked the fitter side at the end. We looked like the ones pushing and it looked like Croatia were hanging on.

"When you end the game like that and have the chances we had, you've got to be disappointed and it's definitely one that got away.

"We had so many good chances and we didn't manage to put them away. We didn't really play well and gave away two poor goals. When you don't play like you can do and still create chances against this top team, it's disappointing.

"I said to the players, 'We've missed a chance', especially with the way we ended the game, we ended so strong. When it gets stretched, Croatia had chances on the break, but you expect that."

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, meanwhile, was encouraged by his side's reaction to their defeat last time out, though acknowledged his players must be prepared to battle their way to Euro 2020.

"We are in first place, we are favourites, but it will be a fight," he told reporters.

Ivan Perisic scored one goal and made the other as Croatia overcame Wales 2-1 in Euro 2020 qualifying in Osijek on Saturday.

Zlatko Dalic's side had lost their last Group E game against Hungary in March, but got back on track thanks to James Lawrence's first-half own goal and Perisic's 48th-minute strike following some shambolic Welsh defending.

Lawrence was unlucky to put through his own net, failing to sort his feet out when racing back towards goal, and the Anderlecht defender was one of three Wales players whose failure to clear allowed Perisic to increase the hosts' lead.

Substitute David Brooks' deflected effort 13 minutes from time gave Ryan Giggs' men hope of a comeback but they could not force an equaliser as the World Cup finalists held on for victory.

An eventful opening saw Perisic twice blaze over, either side of Harry Wilson volleying an even more presentable chance straight at Dominik Livakovic from Gareth Bale's quick-thinking long throw.

And Wales were made to pay for that miss in the 17th minute as Perisic got in behind down the left and drilled a low cross towards Andrej Kramaric that Lawrence deflected in.

Kramaric fired off-target as Croatia sought a second prior to half-time, although they were almost caught cold as Livakovic saved from Will Vaulks and then thwarted Ben Davies' rebound.

Within three minutes of the restart, Croatia doubled their lead as Wales gave the ball away and failed three times to clear their lines, allowing Perisic to rifle home.

Bale shot straight at Livakovic when well placed but the Croatia goalkeeper was completely wrong-footed when Brooks' attempt flicked off Domagoj Vida's head and in.

Brooks' weak effort in stoppage time proved the last chance for a dramatic leveller, though, as Wales were made to rue leaving themselves a mountain to climb in searing 30-degree heat.

 

What does it mean? Croatia back on course

Dalic's men have picked up home wins either side of that loss to Hungary and are momentarily top of the group. Wales, meanwhile, are back to earth with a bump following their opening win over Slovakia in March.

Perisic proves problematic

The Inter winger was a constant thorn in Wales' side, tormenting right-back Connor Roberts with relentlessly penetrating runs. Whenever Luka Modric picked up the ball in space in midfield, Perisic would set off at a canter, and the Real Madrid maestro would often find him.

Wales contribute to their own downfall

Lawrence's own goal was unfortunate, but the manner of the second – and so soon after half-time – will surely have irked Giggs. Having lost possession just outside their own area, Joe Allen, Lawrence and Roberts all had chances to clear before Perisic pounced.

What's next?

Wales travel to Hungary for their next clash on Tuesday, while Croatia are not in action again until September – a tricky trip to Slovakia.

Croatia will be without stars Ivan Rakitic and Ante Rebic for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier against Wales.

Barcelona midfielder Rakitic and Eintracht Frankfurt's Rebic were ruled out due to leg and knee injuries respectively, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) announced.

The 2018 World Cup runners-up will host Wales on June 8 before taking on Tunisia in a friendly three days later.

"We have jointly made the decision that Rakitic will not play," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said in a statement on Wednesday.

"He has had problems with his leg, it reoccurred in the Copa del Rey final and he won't be ready for Wales and won't play against Tunisia either.

"I believe in all the players in my squad, they can replace him with quality."

The injuries are a blow to Croatia, who won one and lost one of their opening two matches in Group E.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic revealed his delight and slight surprise at seeing "complete" Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric handed multiple individual honours in 2018.

Former Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo had largely hogged the limelight at the Santiago Bernabeu in past seasons, but Modric was influential in the side's third consecutive Champions League and then inspired Croatia'srun to the World Cup final.

The ex-Tottenham man's form saw him rewarded with the Golden Ball at Russia 2018 and then the coveted Ballon d'Or, won by either Ronaldo or great rival Lionel Messi in each of the previous 10 years.

And LA Galaxy star Ibrahimovic, who came fourth in the 2013 Ballon d'Or voting while with Paris Saint-Germain, was encouraged to see a different name in a different position recognised.

"I think [Modric] is one of the most complete midfielders in the world," Ibrahimovic told DAZN. "He has fantastic pace, he has a vision for the game that is amazing. The ball handling is amazing.

"I played against him at an early age, when he was a young player. Now he is an experienced player and I'm happy that he won the Ballon d'Or, the FIFA best player at the World Cup, all these things, because it's not often that a player like that gets that credit.

"Normally it's a striker or somebody that has been 'wow'. But this year, let's say last year, was his year. I'm happy that he won.

"Me and my mother being from Croatia, he's Croatian, so I'm happy. It's part of the blood."

Perjury charges against Liverpool and Croatia defender Dejan Lovren have been dropped, a Croatian court has confirmed.

Dejan Lovren has been given a one-match ban by UEFA for comments made on social media following Croatia's Nations League win over Spain.

France's World Cup victory was not enough to lift them to the top of the FIFA world rankings and they end 2018 second behind beaten semi-finalists Belgium by only a single point.

Didier Deschamps' men triumphed 1-0 over Belgium in the last four in Russia before a 4-2 win against Croatia landed them the trophy for the first time since 1998.

Croatia end the year in fourth, ahead of fifth-placed England - the side they beat to reach the final - but behind Brazil.

Portugal and Switzerland - along with England and Netherlands (14th) - will contest the Nations League Finals next year and are sixth and eighth respectively on the December rankings list.

Argentina (11th), Germany (16th) and Italy (18th) are among the giants of world football who enter the new year outside the top 10.

Kosovo - ranked 131st - are the year's biggest climbers, having moved up 46 places over the course of 2018. 

End-of-year FIFA rankings - the top 10

1. Belgium - 1727 points
2. France - 1726
3. Brazil - 1676
4. Croatia - 1634
5. England - 1631
6. Portugal - 1614
7. Uruguay - 1609
8. Switzerland - 1599
9. Spain - 1591
10. Denmark - 1589

Luka Modric said Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is determined to keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu but refused to discuss the possibility of signing a new contract at the club.

The winner of the 2018 Ballon d'Or is contracted to the European champions until June 2020, by which time he will be 34.

Since captaining Croatia to the World Cup final and claiming the trophy awarded to the world's best player, Modric has been the subject of reports suggesting he could sign a new deal at the club he joined in August 2012.

However, he told Sportske Novosti: "The only thing certain for now is that I'll be with Madrid until the end of my contract.

"Perez told me straight away in the summer - get it out of your head that you're leaving Real, we have no theory to let you go."

Modric winning the Ballon d'Or prompted a strong reaction from pundits and players who felt that Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi deserved the award.

Ronaldo and Messi dominated the award for a decade, winning it five times each between 2008 and 2017, and Modric said his win did not indicate any superiority over the pair in terms of his quality as a player.

"Things are, in my opinion, very simple," said Modric.

"Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are two phenomena that play a dominant role for 10 years. Above everyone in terms of quality.

"But here we are talking about seasonal performance and it may mean that the votes of trainers, players, legends of football, journalists and fans are the same. Or are they all at the same time mistaken?

"If we are to vote on the quality of players, then we can divide all the trophies between Messi and Ronaldo as long as they are actively playing and ignore any other choices."

Luka Modric has credited Zinedine Zidane with giving him the confidence to fulfil his potential and claim a maiden Ballon d'Or.

Luka Modric said he wants to retire at Real Madrid after beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the Ballon d'Or.

Modric claimed the coveted individual honour at a ceremony in Paris on Monday – ending the domination of Juventus superstar Ronaldo and Barcelona sensation Messi, who had split the past 10 awards.

After becoming the first Croatian to win the Ballon d'Or, Modric quickly pledged his future to three-time reigning Champions League holders Madrid amid links with Serie A side Inter.

Modric, who attracted interest from Inter at the start of the season, said: "I have two years left and hopefully one more.

"The club show me a lot of affection and I'd like to retire at Real Madrid.

"My family enjoy it and I want to keep enjoying this huge club."

Modric capped a brilliant 2018 by edging five-time winner and former team-mate Ronaldo, who finished second, while Messi was fifth in the voting.

The 33-year-old Modric – who was also named FIFA's Best Men's Player this year – helped Croatia to the World Cup final in Russia having guided Madrid to a third successive Champions League crown.

Modric, however, admitted he would give up all his individual accolades – including the Ballon d'Or – to win the World Cup.

"I said, I think last time when I won The Best, I would change all my individual awards for the World Cup, unfortunately it didn't happen," Modric told reporters. "This success we achieved at the World Cup for such a small country like Croatia is something amazing.

"But, like I told you, I would change all of this for a World Cup. It didn't happen, this is a great feeling to win at least this, and very happy for it."

Luka Modric said his Ballon d'Or win is for all the players who deserved the accolade but missed out because of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's dominance of the coveted award.

Real Madrid midfielder and Croatia captain Modric, 33, capped a brilliant 2018 by claiming the Ballon d'Or in Paris on Monday.

Barcelona great Messi and Juventus superstar Ronaldo had dominated the individual award, winning the honour five times apiece over 10 years.

However, Modric ended their decade-long duopoly on the prize following Croatia's run to the World Cup final and Madrid's third successive Champions League crown.

Modric – who was also named FIFA's Best Men's Player this year – acknowledged Messi and Ronaldo's quality but added that his success is a "victory for football".

"These two [Ronaldo and Messi] were on some exceptional level for the last 10 years," Modric said.

"Maybe in the past there are some players that could win the Ballon d'Or, like Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta or [Wesley] Sneijder, but it didn't happen.

"People are finally, I don't know, they wanted something else. I think it's [a] victory for football tonight.

"I am happy that I am the winner but this award is for all these players that probably deserved to win but didn't."

 

Luka Modric has been crowned the winner of the Ballon d'Or, capping a wonderful 2018 for the Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder.

The Ballon d'Or has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the past decade, the rivals winning the award five times apiece.

But Modric's impact in Croatia's run to the World Cup final, coupled with Madrid winning the Champions League for the third year in a row, saw him triumph.

Modric - also crowned FIFA's Best Men's Player this year - pipped World Cup winners including Raphael Varane, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann to the award.

Griezmann made it into the top three but he was beaten to second place by Ronaldo, who moved to Serie A champions Juventus from Madrid in July.

Messi finished fifth in the voting, with Griezmann's France team-mate Mbappe a place above the Barcelona star.

There was no place for Neymar in the top 10, with Paul Pogba and Madrid captain Sergio Ramos among the other big names further down the list.

Kaka was the last player other than Messi or Ronaldo to win the Ballon d'Or, the Brazilian claiming the title in 2007 while starring for AC Milan.

Ballon d'Or final placings in full: 

29= Isco (Real Madrid), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

28= Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)

25= Alisson (Roma/Liverpool), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

22= Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Marcelo (Real Madrid)

19= Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

17= Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

16= Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

15= Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

14= Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea/Real Madrid)

13= Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

12= Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain) 

11= N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)

10= Harry Kane (Tottenham)

9= Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

8= Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

7= Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

6= Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

5= Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

4= Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

3= Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

2= Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Juventus)

1= Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Luka Modric has been crowned the Ballon d'Or winner for 2018, beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann to claim the prize on Monday.

Page 1 of 10
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.