Modric joins Real Madrid
Modric testing the field at Bernabeu
MADRID, Spain ● Luka Modric has signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid after leaving Tottenham in a deal worth an estimated €37 million.
Modric, speaking at a press conference in Madrid to announce his move, told a smattering of journalists: “I’m ready for everything. I’m going to work hard for the team, and hopefully my qualities can bring success to the team.
“I am proud and honoured to be here. I have trained and worked hard since Euro 2012. After a couple of games, I hope to be at my top-level form.
“I believe I have what it takes to play here. I’ve got everything I need and I want to enjoy football and to learn.
“It’s an honour to play for Real Madrid. It’s the best and the world’s greatest football club.”
Real confirmed the transfer on their website after the Croatian playmaker passed a medical. “Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have reached an agreement for the transfer of the player Luka Modric, who will remain tied to the club for the next five seasons,” the statement read.
The transfer is estimated to be around €37m, including add-ons. Modric becomes Real’s first signing of the close season.
An earlier statement ahead of the medical included news of a partnership agreement for the two clubs to work together “in respect of players, coaching, best practices and commercial relationships”.
The 26-year-old’s arrival in the Spanish capital may help Real put a poor start to the season behind them, during which they have taken one point from two La Liga outings and lost Thursday’s first leg of the Spanish Super Cup 3-2 at Barcelona.
They crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat at city rivals Getafe on Sunday, which prompted a rare burst of public criticism of his underperforming players from coach Jose Mourinho.
Real have a chance to get their season back on track in Wednesday’s Super Cup return leg at the Bernabeu when Modric, who will be presented to the media later on Monday, could make his debut.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who fought off bids from Chelsea and Manchester United for the fan favourite a year ago, said he was reluctant to let Modric leave.
Modric himself said last year he wanted to move to Chelsea but Levy blocked any deal with the club’s London neighbours.
“Luka has been a terrific player for us and, while we preferred not to part with him, we are pleased that it is to Real Madrid, a club with which we now look forward to sharing a long and productive partnership,” Levy said in a statement.
Modric joined Tottenham from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008 for 16.5m and became a key element in the club’s resurgence under former manager Harry Redknapp.
In all, he played 160 times for Spurs, scoring 17 goals, and was the creative heart of the side, whose attacking, expansive style was widely regarded as being among the most attractive in the Premier League last season.
“When I first heard Madrid were interested, nothing else mattered,” Modric said later after the presentation.
“I just wanted to come here, this is the best club in the world, with the best coach, and great players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria… so many great players. I am looking forward to playing with them. It is an honour to be here and my desire is to win trophies with Madrid.”
The Croatia international said that spending most of the summer training alone as talks between Spurs and Madrid continued had been frustrating, but he was now delighted with how things had ended up.
“Everything started before the Euros,” Modric said. “It was hard as I wanted to be here (Madrid) as soon as possible, but sometimes negotiations go on longer than expected. Now I am very happy to be here. Of course it has been a tough time, almost one month without training fully with a team, but finally it has been done.”
Modric, 26, said he had no complaints about how the transfer had been handled from any side, and was grateful for the support he and his family had received during their spell in the UK.
“I want to thank all the people at Tottenham. I had four great years there, and I enjoyed every moment. I want to thank everyone who made my life enjoyable in London. There are no hard feelings on my side, this is a new page in my life. I am looking forward.”
Modric said that he was now focused on winning a place in Madrid’s starting XI, preferably in central midfield.
“My challenge of course is to win a place in the team. To do that I must work hard, it will be difficult, but I am ready for that. This is the biggest challenge of my career. I know I have the quality to play here.
“My position at Tottenham was in the centre of midfield, and I have played there for Croatia, I feel I am best there. I hope to play there [for Madrid], but I can play in other positions on the pitch, the coach will decide.”
After signing a five-year deal with the La Liga title holders – with a reported annual salary of €4.5 million – Modric revealed he had been following his new team’s disappointing start to the season on TV but stressed it was far too early to make any judgements.
“I watched all three of Madrid’s games. I have to say that it is not important how you begin a season, but how you finish. There is still a lot of games left in La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. The most important thing is how the season ends.”
Madrid and their new No. 19 can kickstart their season by overcoming a 3-2 first leg deficit when they face Barcelona in the Spanish Supercopa decider on Wednesday. Modric said he was looking forward to training with his new team-mates and was available to play immediately, although his disrupted pre-season meant it would be a few weeks before he was at his best.
“I feel I am ready to play, but the coach will decide. I have to be honest, I have missed games. I trained with the fitness coach at Spurs, worked hard and the 25 minutes with Croatia will have helped me. I will need a couple of games to be at the high level Madrid expect of me.”
His move to Madrid could now spell the end of Kaka’s stint at Real, the Brazilian playmaker who has failed to live up to expectations since arriving from AC Milan three years ago.
Milan wanted to take the 30-year-old back on loan, although Real were holding out for a sale, the Italian side’s vice president Adriano Galliano said on Sunday.