Luka Modric says there is no greater feeling than playing for Real Madrid after signing a contract extension with the LaLiga giants.
Madrid confirmed on Tuesday that the Croatia international, who would have become a free agent next month, has agreed a new 12-month deal.
That will take the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner through to a decade’s service at the Santiago Bernabeu, having arrived from Tottenham for a fee in the region of €35million (£28m) in August 2012.
He has won 16 club trophies during that time, including four Champions Leagues, and remains a key player for Madrid at the age of 35.
Modric is reported to have accepted a pay cut to stay on in the Spanish capital but is delighted to spend at least another year with Los Blancos.
“I’m very happy and proud to stay at this club for one more year,” he told Real Madrid TV. “There’s nothing better than playing for Real Madrid and there’s no better feeling than playing at the Bernabeu.
“Everyone wants to play for Real Madrid and I’ve been lucky enough to do it. I’m going to be in my 10th year and there’s nothing better than representing this great club.
“Nine years of dreams and hopefully the 10th season will also be special.
— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10) May 25, 2021
“It means a lot to me. It makes me very proud and will mean that I’ll have been here for almost 10 years. That’s incredible, something I didn’t even expect.
“I came here when I was almost 27 and the last thing I expected was to be at this great club for so long.
“The demands here are so high and you always have to be at the very best level to deserve to stay here. I’m very happy and proud to remain at this club for another year.”
Modric has made 391 appearances for Madrid in total, including 35 LaLiga outings this season – no outfield player featured more regularly for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Madrid won 22, drew nine and lost 4 of those games – a win rate of 62.9 per cent.
Modric ranked fifth in LaLiga this season for attempted passes (2,210) and successful passes (1,948) among midfielders, with Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong leading both metrics (2,785 and 2,560 respectively).
The former Tottenham man’s 50 chances created, meanwhile, was bettered only by Osasuna’s Ruben Garcia (53), Sergio Canales (59), Toni Kroos (67) and David Ferreiro (73) among LaLiga midfielders in 2020-21.
To further prove that age is just a number, Modric became the oldest player in the Champions League since Ryan Giggs in 2011 to have assists in three successive Champions League games earlier this year.
“I take care of myself every day as much as possible. I know that in a footballer’s career, even though it’s longer now, you have to remain focused, train well, recover, eat well and rest well,” Modric said when asked for the secret to his longevity.
“That’s the reason I think I’m still able to play at the level I’ve done this year. Being at this club requires you to do your best and I’m going to give it my all for as long as I’m here.”
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