Robert Jarni said fellow Croatian Luka Modric has the ability to lift La Liga champions Real Madrid to a new level.
Modric remains with Tottenham Hotspur but – according to AS – the midfield maestro informed his English employers he wants to move to the Santiago Bernabeu and – having agreed personal terms with Jose Mourinho’s men – he is waiting for the two clubs to reach an agreement over the transfer fee.
Jarni spent a season in the Spanish capital himself during his playing days and while he knows just how difficult it is to nail down a regular place in the Madrid starting line-up, he is confident that Modric will not suffer a similar fate.
“It is difficult to know how he will react when he arrives,” the former Croatia international told AS.
“We must see where he is going to play and what Mourinho thinks of him.
“Whether he will be a starter or not, or if he (Mourinho) will want to rotate him (remains to be seen). All that must be taken into account because Madrid have quality players.
“What I will say is that his way of playing and seeing football matches ties in well with Madrid and the Spanish league.
“He’s a very humble guy, with his feet on the ground and, as a player, he has a lot of quality. Luka has the profile of a Madrid player. I think he has an extraordinary quality.
“If confirmed, his move will raise the level of team play. It seems a wise move on the part of Madrid.”
Jarni said Modric is versatile enough to adapt to whatever role is bestowed upon him, but he feels that he must be played centrally if Real are to make full use of his talents.
“There are several options,” the 43-year-old said.
“You can play him with Xabi (Alonso) or (Sami) Khedira. If Mourinho plays with a 4-2-3-1, he can be the playmaker.
“In addition, he spent two years playing down the left-hand side with the national team. But I have to confess that he did not have as much of an impact as in midfield.”
Spurs are demanding 40 million euros for Modric. However, Madrid are confident that the Premier League side will accept 35m euros and Ricardo Carvalho.
The newspaper also claims that Manchester United have not given up on signing Modric, who has established himself as one of the most sought-after midfielders in Europe since arriving at White Hart Lane from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008.