Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui said he is certain Luka Modric will remain with the club as Inter Milan’s Luciano Spalletti acknowledged dreaming of signing the World Cup Golden Ball winner.
Reports have indicated Modric is hoping Madrid will let him out of the last two years of his contract for a move to Serie A, but Madrid president Florentino Perez immediately ruled it out by highlighting Modric’s €750 million release clause.
After the International Champions Cup victory over Juventus on Saturday, Lopetegui told reporters he believes Modric will remain with the club once the season begins.
“The president has already spoken,” Lopetegui said. “I’ve not much more to add. Modric is an extraordinary player. I spoke to him after the World Cup and we will see each other when he returns on [Aug. 15]. He will be delighted with what we are planning here. He will be happy playing here, as he was before. I have no doubts he will remain a Real Madrid player.”
However, Spalletti told reporters after Inter’s 1-0 win over Lyon that the hierarchy were still working on getting a deal done but admitted that it sounded unlikely.
“The club is working in a coherent and serious way, trying to put into practice all that we are thinking,” Spalletti said. “Modric would clearly be an important player for any team — and also for us. Our fans are dreaming about signing him, and I dream with them. We still have some days left in the market. But if on the final day [Barcelona’s Lionel] Messi arrives, I would also be very happy to accept that.”
Madrid’s other World Cup finalists, Raphael Varane and Mateo Kovacic, returned to training on Sunday, but Modric is now not due to join up until the club return from their International Champions Cup tour of the United States.
According to El Pais, Madrid are likely to offer Modric a salary bump reflecting his value following Croatia’s loss to France in the World Cup final, and AS reported Perez had given Modric a verbal assurance he could leave if he so desired, similar to the case of Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this summer.
“We are relaxed and counting on him,” Lucas Vazquez told reporters after Saturday’s game, referring to Modric. “I have no doubts he will stay … but you never know in football. My opinion is Luka is a Madrid player, and will remain so, but I’m not inside his head. The president said he is not for sale, so we have to be calm.”
Former Inter player Ronaldo told Sky Sports Italia that he did not know of any such agreement, but suggested he understood why the club were pushing to get a player like Modric.
“It’s a strange transfer window — let’s see what happens,” Ronaldo said. ” … I don’t know if there really are negotiations underway between the two clubs. The market closes in a few weeks so let’s wait and see. All the top clubs are strengthening and Inter are up there.”