Modric: I'm at the best club in the world
New Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric declared that he was honoured to have finally signed for the club after a frustrating summer saw his move from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur drag on.
Modric, who was unveiled at the Bernabeu on Monday following the completion of his €37 million transfer, said making the move had been an easy decision on his part.
"When I first heard Madrid were interested, nothing else mattered," Modric said. "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 yet 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 kick-start their season by overcoming a 2-3 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."