Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric returns to training as Real Madrid prepare for Melilla clash

From Ballon d’Or success to preparing for second-tier minnows Mellila.

It has been a strange week so far for Luka Modric, who returned to the grind on Wednesday fresh from his historic victory in Paris – which saw him bring down the curtain on a dominant era for Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.  

The Croatian midfielder picked up the ultimate reward for his remarkable 2018 to cap off a year which has also seen him win the World Cup Golden Ball and FIFA ‘Best’ prize.

Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric (L) left trained on Wednesday ahead of Real Madrid's Melilla tie

Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric (L) left trained on Wednesday ahead of Real Madrid's Melilla tie

Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric (L) left trained on Wednesday ahead of Real Madrid’s Melilla tie

Several key players, including Sergio Ramos, trained despite Madrid being set to play starlets

Several key players, including Sergio Ramos, trained despite Madrid being set to play starlets

Several key players, including Sergio Ramos, trained despite Madrid being set to play starlets

Vinicius Junior was pictured laughing during Wednesday's training session

Vinicius Junior was pictured laughing during Wednesday's training session

Modric plays a simple pass during a training drill

Modric plays a simple pass during a training drill

Vinicius Junior (L), a player who may start on Thursday, laughs as Modric played a pass

Modric returned to training this week and took part in their full session on Wednesday as Madrid put the final touches to their preparations for Mellila.

The Spanish giants already have one foot in the next round, having thumped the second-tier side 4-0 in the first leg and can finish off the job in the return tie on Thursday.

There were several key members of the squad including, Modric, Raphael Varane, Karim Benzema, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos present for the session despite Santiago Solari being set to play the youngsters. 

Madrid's Thibaut Courtois (R) and Karim Benzema (L) pictured during Wednesday's session

Madrid's Thibaut Courtois (R) and Karim Benzema (L) pictured during Wednesday's session

Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois (R) and Karim Benzema (L) pictured during Wednesday’s session

Isco has been frozen out of first-team action recently but may play in the Cope del Rey clash

Isco has been frozen out of first-team action recently but may play in the Cope del Rey clash

Isco has been frozen out of first-team action recently but may play in the Cope del Rey clash

The mood in the camp appeared to be high with several players pictured laughing and joking around during the training session.

Thursday’s match is due to kick-off early at 3.15pm (UK time) with December 6 marking the 40th anniversary Spain’s constitution.

Despite Madrid holding a significant advantage, boss Solari is expecting a difficult game. 

He told reporters on Wednesday: ‘The first leg was very good because we put in a very good performance with a good attitude and intensity, against a team that play very good football and are top of their group in Segunda B. 

Santiago Solari heaped praise on Modric and said he's expecting a tough game with Melilla

Santiago Solari heaped praise on Modric and said he's expecting a tough game with Melilla

Santiago Solari heaped praise on Modric and said he’s expecting a tough game with Melilla

Madrid midfielder Modric scooped the prestigious award at a glitzy affair in Paris on Monday

Madrid midfielder Modric scooped the prestigious award at a glitzy affair in Paris on Monday

Madrid midfielder Modric scooped the prestigious award at a glitzy affair in Paris on Monday

‘That division is very underestimated and there are teams that play very good football’.

On Modric scooping the ultimate prize, Solari added: ‘It’s Modric’s year. The focus has to be on him. He’s had a wonderful year and he’s given everything to Real Madrid and his national team. 

‘It comes at a time of maturity in his career. It seems to me that at that age it’s more beautiful because he can truly value it. We’re all very happy with his prize’.

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