Ancelotti hails 'immortal' Modric
Carlo Ancelotti described Luka Modric as "immortal" after his outstanding display in Real Madrid's 4-1 LaLiga win over Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Modric, 36, restored Madrid's lead shortly before half-time with a sumptuous strike from outside the area after Karim Benzema and Iago Aspas had exchanged penalties.
It marked the first time the Croatia international had scored two consecutive goals from outside the area in the competition since January 2019 when he completed a run of three.
Indeed, more than half of Modric's goals for Madrid in all competitions have been from outside the box (18 out of 32).
He then followed that up in the second half with a superb pass to set Vinicius Junior up for Madrid's third.
The LaLiga and European champions agreed a deal with Manchester United on Friday for the sale of midfielder Casemiro, but Modric hardly looked like he missed the Brazilian.
"Modric's goal changed the game," Ancelotti said. "Until then it had been quite even. Celta were pressing well, but that intensity dropped in the second half.
"Modric is immortal. He's always ready and always plays well."
Aurelien Tchouameni impressed in Casemiro's traditional role at the base of Madrid's midfield three, with no player on the pitch making more clearances (four) or interceptions (three), while he gained possession a joint team-high nine times.
The France international is considered by many to be the natural heir to Casemiro, but Ancelotti does not want to compare the two.
"Tchouameni has different qualities to Casemiro, but today he played very well," the Italian said.
"He showed what he has been showing in training. Without the ball, he defended well. He did well defensively with Modric and [Eduardo] Camavinga."
Substitute Eden Hazard missed the chance to score his first LaLiga goal since May 2021 when his late penalty was saved by Agustin Marchesin.
Benzema gave up the opportunity to take the spot-kick himself – a gesture that was welcomed by Ancelotti.
"I thought it was a very nice gesture from Benzema to Hazard," he added. "It doesn't matter if he missed it, as he normally takes penalties well. It's more important that Hazard has shown an overall good performance."