Luka Modric is back.He has recovered his form in the month of January, culminating in Real Madrid turning things around after collecting a host of individual awards at the tail end of 2018.
Modric has started 2019 as one of the faces of a resurgent Real Madrid, the side who are combining victories with good performances.
There has been a tactical change which is seeing him contributing even more in a No. 10 role.
The gas tank is now loaded for him and although the World Cup left him exhausted, he still wanted to play in the European Super Cup.
That came after barely a week of work under his belt and he paid dearly for it because for him, pre-season is fundamental.
The same thing happened in his first year at Real Madrid when his pre-season was interrupted by the transfer tug of war between Los Blancos and Daniel Levy's Tottenham.
It wasn't until a match at Old Trafford in March that he exploded.
That was repeated this year, when his summer was extended too much by reaching Champions League and World Cup finals.
In addition, Modric has another peculiarity though because, in spite of all of that tiredness, he has had to play more to reach his best form.
Julen Lopetegui opted to rotate him and it didn't work out for him as it prevented him from stringing matches together and getting up to speed.
Now, that is in the past and his form is close to reaching its optimal level because he is playing more than ever and doing so with freedom and confidence.Modric has scored three goals in the last seven games, netting in the Club World Cup final and against Real Betis and Sevilla.
He is unlucky it wasn't more, too, because he had one disallowed at Villarreal and Diego Lopez made two fine saves at Espanyol, although one did end up in a goal for Karim Benzema.
Three goals and two assists are his figures in the last month and it is rare that he isn't shooting on goal in a game these days.
In the game against Sevilla, he stepped up for the team when he was needed most and crowned the performance with a goal at the end.
Aside from the game against Viktoria Plzen at the Santiago Bernabeu, it was his best performance of the campaign with 66 passes in the opposition half and eight balls into the box, well above his average of 38 and two respectively.
Modric is stepping up more than ever because Solari asked him to.
The Argentine wanted the Ballon d'Or winner to play with more freedom and encouragement and move into the opposition box with more regularity.
The results are evident, as seen by looking at the heat maps of his influence and passes in recent games.
After his critical reflection on things after the defeat against Real Sociedad, the team have reacted.
From then on, Madrid have been on a fixed course and Modric has recovered his smile, which has made everyone happy.