Madrid, Oct 16 (IANS) Real Madrid’s Croatian international midfielder Luka Modric admits that neither he nor his team-mates expected both Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo to leave the club last summer.
Zidane stepped down as coach after leading the club to three consecutive Champions League titles, while Ronaldo ended his nine-year association with Madrid when he joined Juventus in July, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I wasn’t expecting either of the two to go; I didn’t think Zidane would leave and the same with Ronaldo,” said Modric in an interview with the latest edition of the magazine ‘France Football.’
“In fact when the rumors about Cristiano appeared, we (Real Madrid players) had bets among ourselves and we were certain he would stay, but everyone makes their own decisions,” he added.
The 33-year-old, who is the favourite to win the prestigious ‘Balon d’Or’ award for this season, was asked which former players he would most likely to have lined up alongside. He said his first choice was former Croatian international Zvonimir Boban; “he was my hero in the Croatian team,” he said, before naming Zidane as his second choice.
“I was lucky to have him as a coach and we have lived some incredible moments with him at Real Madrid, sometimes he has played alongside us and it was incredible to see how elegant he was and how he moved over the pitch,” said Modric.
The Croatian described himself as “much more timid,” than Ronaldo and that he didn’t “appreciate being over-exposed in the media.
“I prefer simplicity,” he said.