Real Madrid says Modric sidelined with muscle injury
MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid says Luka Modric has a right leg muscle injury.
The club says the abductor injury was diagnosed on Thursday. It did not say how long the midfielder will be...
Van Dijk, Ronaldo, Messi finalists for FIFA player award
MILAN (AP) — Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk has joined five-time winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the three finalists for the FIFA best player award. United States forward Megan...
Bale and Benzema lead Madrid to opening Spanish league win
MADRID (AP) — Zinedine Zidane's revamped Real Madrid got the spark it needed from a couple of veterans to get off to a winning start in the Spanish league.
Ronaldo, Messi, Rapinoe nominated for FIFA awards
GENEVA (AP) — Five-time winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were among the 10 candidates for the FIFA best player award announced Wednesday. United States forward Megan Rapinoe is the...
MADRID (AP) — Only 20 minutes into the match, it looked like going from bad to even worse for Real Madrid on Sunday.
Relegation-threatened Valladolid had already missed a penalty kick in the...
MADRID (AP) — With Real Madrid faltering in attack, Luka Modric is feeling the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Modric, who replaced Ronaldo as the winner of the world's best player award, said...
FIFA moves best player awards to Milan from London
ZURICH (AP) — FIFA is moving from London to have a night at the opera in Milan to honor the world's best players and coaches.
FIFA says the iconic Scala theater will host its annual awards ceremony on Sept. 23.
London has hosted the Best Awards for the past two years after FIFA's new leadership moved the event from long-time home Zurich. Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was voted the 2018 best player.
Modric back to his best for revived Real Madrid
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — With Luka Modric back to playing like a Ballon d'Or winner, Real Madrid is gaining momentum in time for a run at a fourth straight Champions League title.
Modric was voted the world's top player in December after leading Croatia to the World Cup final and helping Madrid win a third European Cup in a row.
Casemiro getting back to his best with Madrid
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Casemiro knew what was coming before scoring one of the best goals of his career at Real Madrid.
His teammate Luka Modric had let an innocent-looking pass by Sergio Reguilon run through to Casemiro, who was gathering steam in a run from midfield.
The Brazil midfielder dipped his head, set up a firing angle, and then unleashed a brutal, swerving shot from 25 meters (yards) that screamed into the top corner of the net.
Madrid beats Sevilla 2-0, returns to top 3 in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Producing one of its best displays of an up-and-down season, Real Madrid scored a convincing 2-0 victory over Sevilla to get back into the Spanish league's top three.
Casemiro was on target with a superb long-range shot before Luka Modric added a late second goal.
The win moved Madrid into the top three for the first time since September and eased the pressure on coach Santiago Solari.
Modric wins Balkan award ahead of Djokovic and Halep
SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Croatia soccer star Luka Modric has been chosen Balkan athlete of the year.
Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then guided Croatia to the World Cup final in July, where the midfielder was voted player of the tournament. He also won the prestigious Ballon d'Or for the first time earlier in December.
Tennis great Novak Djokovic of Serbia was second in the Balkan poll, and Romania's Simona Halep third.
Real Madrid beats Al Ain 4-1 to win Club World Cup again
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Luka Modric scored one goal and set up another in leading Real Madrid to the Club World Cup title by easing past host side Al Ain 4-1 on Saturday.
Ballon d'Or winner Modric struck from long range in the 14th minute after a promising start by the underdog Al Ain. He then placed a corner kick for Sergio Ramos to put the result beyond doubt at 3-0 in the 79th.
Ballon d’Or 1sts: Modric wins, Hegerberg takes women’s award
PARIS (AP) — Luka Modric ended the long reign of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d'Or for the first time on Monday, while another first saw Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg win the inaugural women's trophy.
Messi and Ronaldo had won every Ballon d'Or since 2008, and usually fought only each other for the greatest recognition among soccer's elite. Women's fight for recognition on the biggest stage took a big step with Hegerberg's award.
Ronaldo responds to award reports by leading Juventus to win
ROME (AP) — Nothing seems to motivate Cristiano Ronaldo more than the suggestion that other players are better than him.
That was evident when Ronaldo skipped the UEFA player of the year award ceremony in August when he learned that former Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric gained the honor.
Now, amid reports that he's been left off the podium for the Ballon d'Or prize to be presented next month, teammates say Ronaldo trained harder than ever this week.
Madrid wins 4-2 at Celta for 4th straight win under Solari
VIGO, Spain (AP) — Karim Benzema scored a superb opening goal in Real Madrid's 4-2 win at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Sunday, boosting interim coach Santiago Solari's chances of staying in charge of the European champions.
Benzema displayed exquisite control to get Madrid rolling in the 23rd minute. Spinning away from the goal, the French striker used his right foot to cushion a forward lob by Luka Modric. He then continued his turn and coolly slotted the ball in.
Modric, Mbappe in running for Ballon d’Or
PARIS (AP) — Luka Modric and Kylian Mbappe are in the running to break Lionel Messi's and Cristiano Ronaldo's 10-year dominance of the Ballon d'Or.
The World Cup finalist and champion, respectively, are nominees for this year's award, alongside Brazilian forward Marta. For the first time, France Football magazine is awarding the individual trophy to a woman and a man on Dec. 3 in Paris.
Lopetegui under pressure amid Real Madrid scoring drought
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — It looked like a no-brainer at the time. Which coach wouldn't jump at the chance to lead star-packed and wealthy Real Madrid?
But four months later Julen Lopetegui may be ruing the day the club's president Florentino Perez made him an offer that he just couldn't refuse.
Report: Croatia court rejects perjury charges against Modric
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — A Croatian court has rejected a perjury charge against Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric because the accusations are "premature," state TV reported on Wednesday.
Modric, who was recently named FIFA's footballer of the year, is accused of lying in his testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director convicted of embezzlement and tax fraud.
Real Madrid routed 3-0 by Sevilla in Spanish League
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid conceded three-first half goals in a 3-0 loss at Sevilla on Wednesday, squandering a chance to take the Spanish league lead after Barcelona lost 2-1 at last-place Leganes.
Portugal forward Andre Silva scored in the 17th and 21st minutes, and Wissam Ben Yedder added another in the 39th to seal Sevilla's convincing win at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Modric wins world player of year, ends Ronaldo-Messi duopoly
LONDON (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were far from the auditorium by the River Thames when Luka Modric broke their decade-long grip on FIFA's award for the world's best player.
Football's biggest individual accolade was handed to the 33-year-old playmaker on Monday night in recognition of a year when he led Croatia to its first World Cup final and won a fourth Champions League title in five seasons with Real Madrid.
Croatian TV says Liverpool’s Lovren charged with perjury
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatian state TV said Wednesday that Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has been charged with perjury for allegedly giving false testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director sentenced for embezzlement and tax fraud.
The report said prosecutors in the eastern town of Osijek are accusing Lovren of giving a false statement in court during the corruption trial of former Dinamo director Zdravko Mamic and three others.
Without Ronaldo, Portugal draws with Modric’s Croatia
FARO, Portugal (AP) — With Cristiano Ronaldo absent and Luka Modric in action, Portugal and Croatia drew 1-1 in a friendly Thursday.
In its first game since reaching the World Cup final, Croatia got on the board with forward Ivan Perisic's goal and defender Pepe equalized before halftime.
The Portuguese had most of the scoring chances but could not break through the Croatian defense at Algarve Stadium in southern Portugal.
Ronaldo, Salah, Modric make FIFA shortlist, Messi doesn’t
LONDON (AP) — Lionel Messi failed to make the world player of the year shortlist Monday for the first time since 2006, with Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah making their first appearance in the final three alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi and Ronaldo have been the only winners of world soccer's main individual award from FIFA since 2008.
Modric made the FIFA Best shortlist after helping Real Madrid to a third straight Champions League title in May and then leading Croatia to the World Cup final.
Ronaldo remains scoreless since joining Juventus
ROME (AP) — It's been a frustrating week for Cristiano Ronaldo.
First, he was edged out by former Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric for UEFA's player of the year award.
Then he again failed to score in Juventus' 2-1 win at Parma — extending his goal-less start with his new club to three matches.
Modric wins best player in Europe vote; Beckham honored
MONACO (AP) — Croatia captain Luka Modric has been voted the best player in Europe last season, edging former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah for the UEFA award.
Modric helped Madrid to win a third straight Champions League title, and fourth in five seasons, before leading his country to the World Cup final. Croatia lost 4-2 against France.
Voting was by Champions League coaches and invited journalists across Europe.
Ronaldo, Modric, Salah on UEFA best player award shortlist
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — The UEFA award for the best Europe-based player last season won't be won by a World Cup champion from France.
Instead, three-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo was joined Monday by former Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah on a shortlist selected by Champions League coaches and invited journalists across Europe.
Real Madrid reports Inter Milan to FIFA over Modric pursuit
ZURICH (AP) — Real Madrid has reported Inter Milan to FIFA over the Italian club's pursuit of midfielder Luka Modric.
FIFA says it has received a complaint from Madrid ahead of the Serie A transfer window closing later Friday.
The 32-year-old Modric came on as a second-half substitute Wednesday in the UEFA Super Cup, which Madrid lost to Atletico Madrid 4-2 in extra time.
ZURICH (AP) — Benjamin Pavard has beaten Juan Quintero into second place in a fans' online vote to pick the best goal of the World Cup.
France defender Pavard's spinning right-foot shot against Argentina in the round of 16 came top out of 18 candidates for the award.
More than three million votes were logged on FIFA's website, soccer's world governing body said Wednesday.
GENEVA (AP) — World Cup stars Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric will lead the challenge against a decade-long dominance of FIFA's best player award by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Mbappe, the teenage star of France's World Cup-winning team, and Modric, the Croatia captain who was named the tournament's best player, joined five-time winners Ronaldo and Messi among 10 candidates announced by FIFA on Tuesday.
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — In an outburst of national pride and joy, Croatia rolled out a red carpet and staged a euphoric heroes' welcome for the national team on Monday despite its loss to France in the World Cup final.
Hundreds of thousands of people wearing national red-and-white checkered colors and waving Croatian flags poured into the streets in the capital Zagreb to greet the team. Observers described the homecoming event as the biggest ever in Croatia.
Croatia fears World Cup chance may never come again
MOSCOW (AP) — The rain hid Croatia's tears.
After Luka Modric collected his Golden Ball award in a downpour, he shared an emotional embrace with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, both wearing the country's red-and-white checkered uniform.
Croatia knows Sunday's 4-2 loss to France in the World Cup final was a chance that may not come again anytime soon.
"We were so close and we played the best soccer. We deserved more," said Modric, who at 32 may have played in his last World Cup match.
MOSCOW (AP) — From a childhood blighted by war to a successful playing career now being muddied by a criminal case, Luka Modric has arrived at the World Cup final with plenty of life experiences.
Through it all, the Croatia playmaker will be the key member of a team that will face France on Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium for the biggest title in soccer.
Reasons why Croatia will win the World Cup
MOSCOW (AP) — For the players who pushed their bodies to the limit to reach the World Cup final, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has an apt motto.
"Who dares, wins" — a line popularized by special forces around the world.
The fighting spirit is engrained in a group of players whose psyche was forged growing up in a country ravaged by war as the former Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s.
"It made us resilient," Luka Modric said Saturday, "but we have to look into the future."
MOSCOW (AP) — Croatia captain Luka Modric believes the toughness of his World Cup squad has some roots in the war that broke up the former Yugoslavia.
On the eve of the World Cup final against France, Modric has been reluctant to go too deeply into answering a question from a reporter who identified himself as a war correspondent from the 1990s, when Croatia became an independent state.
The question was about "how this war forged the spirit of yourself and of the team."
MOSCOW (AP) — Kylian Mbappe has electrified the World Cup with his speed and youthful exuberance. Luka Modric has coolly controlled matches in Russia with his graceful play in the middle.
Whether France wins its second title in 20 years or Croatia raises the trophy for the first time Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and nearly a billion television viewers could turn on the play of the two stars.
MOSCOW (AP) — A billion-dollar assembly of stars makes France the favorite for the World Cup final, a scenario that Dejan Lovren is pitching as perfect for Croatia's biggest ever game.
"We love to be the underdogs," Lovren said in the wake of Croatia's England 2-1 extra-time win over England.
With a population of 4.3 million and a history of struggle, it's easy to see why. Not since Uruguay's win in 1950 has a country of so few people reached a World Cup final.
MOSCOW (AP) — A World Cup of surprises concludes with a final of contrasts.
Powered by the dynamism of Kylian Mbappe, France has youthful exuberance in a side packed with some of soccer's highest-value talent. It also has pedigree — winners in 1998 and finalists in 2006.
MOSCOW (AP) — A Croatian soccer official will be allowed to watch the team's World Cup semifinal match from a VIP section on Wednesday despite being convicted last month in a corruption case linked to the transfer of captain Luka Modric.
When Croatia beat Russia in the quarterfinals on Saturday, the director general of the country's soccer federation sat in the same row of seats as Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA is letting a top Croatian soccer official watch the team's World Cup semifinal against England from a VIP section on Wednesday despite him being convicted last month in a corruption case linked to the transfer of Luka Modric.
When Croatia beat Russia in the quarterfinals on Saturday, the soccer federation's CEO-like director general sat in the same row of seats as state President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (AP) — Despite saving three penalties, Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel got one-upped in the shootout.
Schmeichel first saved a penalty from Croatia playmaker Luka Modric late in extra time to force Sunday's match to a shootout. He then saved two more spot kicks, but it was Croatia that advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals.
"It's a strange feeling," Schmeichel said. "Huge disappointment but also enormous pride about our team. I think today we had the opportunity."
Modric from ‘different planet’, says Rakitic
ROSCHINO, Russia (AP) — Listening to the way Ivan Rakitic talks about Croatia midfield partner Luka Modric, it quickly becomes clear how lucky he feels to be even sharing the same pitch as him at the World Cup.
He calls Modric the best Croatian footballer of all time — a big leap, considering Rakitic grew up idolizing the great Robert Prosinecki — and feels Modric is so good he has arrived from a different planet.
Modric the best Croatian player ever, says Rakitic
ROSCHINO, Russia (AP) — Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic says teammate Luka Modric plays football "from a different planet" and is the best to have ever played for their national team.
Rakitic grew up idolizing Croatian midfield great Robert Prosinecki but says Modric, now a four-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and Croatia's captain at the World Cup, is at the next level.
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Thursday at the World Cup (all times local):
Croatia has stunned Argentina 3-0 to advance to the group stage of the World Cup and leave Lionel Messi and his teammates needing help to stay alive.
KALININGRAD, Russia (AP) — Even in a more defensive role, Luka Modric can still lead the attack.
The Croatia midfielder scored one goal and set up the other in his team's 2-0 victory over Nigeria on Saturday at the World Cup.
Modric sent in a corner that was headed by two teammates and then deflected into the net by Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo in the 32nd minute.
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Saturday at the World Cup (all times local):
Luka Modric scored on a penalty kick after Croatia went ahead on an own-goal by Nigeria in a 2-0 victory in their World Cup match on Saturday night.
Nigeria's Oghenekaro Etebo deflected the ball into his own net in the 32nd minute after two Croatia players had headed Modric's corner kick.
Modric converted in the 71st minute when referee Sandro Ricci awarded a penalty after William Ekong held onto Mario Manduzik.
KALININGRAD, Russia (AP) — For Croatia's golden generation, the great expectations held by key players outshine even those of the team's fanatical fans at the World Cup.
There is speculation that the tournament in Russia could be the last chance of collective success for a talented crop of Croats that includes captain Luka Modric, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, all of whom are in their 30s.
Even with the talent oozing through the squad, Croatia only squeezed through the playoffs to qualify for a second straight World Cup.
More is expected of Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic in Russia.
Can they emulate the performance in 1998 when Croatia finished third at its first World Cup?
Davor Suker, who was that tournament's top-scorer, now has overall responsibility as the head of Croatia's football federation.
OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) — Former Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamic was sentenced Wednesday to 6 1/2 years in prison for embezzlement and tax evasion over deals that included the sale of Croatia World Cup stars Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren.
Mamic, 58, was not in court in the eastern town of Osijek when judges read the verdict and sentence. He left for neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina a day ahead of the court session and described the verdict as "monstrous."
Modric, Rakitic headline Croatia’s WCup squad
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — With their clubs duties behind them, it's time for Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic to focus on the World Cup.
Both were named in Croatia's squad Monday for the tournament in Russia.
Modric's focus, though, could be distracted by perjury charges he faces for testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director charged with embezzlement and tax fraud.