Despite extending his contract with Blancos until the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, the 38-year-old has found himself sliding down the midfield hierarchy at the Bernabeu in the ongoing season, facing stiff competition from emerging talent Jude Bellingham.
Bellingham, the 20-year-old English sensation, has taken a central role in the Blancos' midfield, with the trio of Federico Valverde, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Eduardo Camavinga frequently supporting him. Consequently, both Modric and fellow veteran Toni Kroos have often found themselves on the sidelines.
While Modric has made 15 appearances this season, contributing one assist, he has only secured six starts. With Tchouameni and Camavinga sidelined due to injuries, Modric may see increased playing time leading up to the festive season, but it's evident that he is no longer Ancelotti's preferred choice in the midfield.
Speculation about Modric's future heightened when his agent refused to rule out a January exit, especially since the Croatian international will be free to enter pre-contract talks with foreign clubs during the winter transfer window, entering the final six months of his current deal.
While a return to Dinamo Zagreb has been suggested, Sport reports that Modric is eyeing a move to the Saudi Pro League, signaling the end of his illustrious 12-year tenure at Real Madrid when his contract concludes in 2024.
Despite a reported tempting offer from an unnamed Middle Eastern club – a three-year deal worth €120m (£105m) annually – Modric initially declined, feeling a commitment to Real Madrid. However, his reduced playing time this season has prompted a reconsideration, and the allure of the Saudi Pro League opportunity seems too compelling to resist.
A January departure is ruled out due to the injuries of Tchouameni and Camavinga, as confirmed by Real's director Jose Angel Sanchez. The plan, according to the report, is for Modric and Real to bid a heartfelt farewell when the season concludes, though the specific Saudi Pro League club leading the race for his signature remains uncertain.
Since his €35m (£30.7m) transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2012, Modric has made 503 appearances for Los Blancos, scoring 37 goals, and providing 78 assists. His remarkable tenure includes 23 major honors, such as five Champions League titles, the 2018 Ballon d'Or, and the UEFA Best Player in Europe award.