With midfield maestro Luka Modric sidelined for two weeks, Dani Ceballos has a chance to cement his place in Real Madrid’s future by stepping out of the Croatian’s shadow for massive games against Osasuna and Manchester City.
The Galacticos received disheartening news last Friday as midfield maestro Luka Modric picked up a stubborn hamstring injury that will sideline him for a fortnight.
The calamity comes at the most inopportune time as Los Blancos gear up for the concluding stages of an eventful campaign.
Modric, 37, is certain to miss the Copa del Rey finals against CA Osasuna on May 6 and faces a race against time to feature in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals against Manchester City just three days later.
The Croatian magician’s absence deals a heavy blow to the reigning La Liga and European champions ahead of a defining run of fixtures.
According to Spanish daily AS, manager Carlo Ancelotti intends to thrust Dani Ceballos into the starting line-up to fill the void left by Modric for the cup final and City clash.
The 26-year-old Spanish midfielder sees his contract expire at the end of the season but has proven his worth throughout the campaign to deserve an extension.
Reports claim Real have already contacted Ceballos’ representatives to discuss fresh terms.
Dani Ceballos Set to Prove His Worth in Modric’s Absence
Ancelotti’s willingness to back Ceballos, ahead of big-money signing Aurelien Tchouameni, to step into Modric’s shoes for massive games in his native Seville and against City reflects the manager’s faith in the academy product.
“The player most similar to Modric in terms of characteristics is Ceballos,” noted Ancelotti in his pre-match press conference.
The onus is now on Ceballos to vindicate Ancelotti’s decision by turning in commanding displays, starting with today’s La Liga fixture against UD Almeria at the Bernabeu.
The stage is set for the midfield understudy to take center stage in Modric’s absence and prove he deserves a starring role in Real’s future.