Exclusive: Modric eyes move to Manchester United… just days after sending them packing in the Champions League
23:00 GMT, 11 March 2013
02:01 GMT, 12 March 2013
Manchester United’s Champions League heartbreaker Luka Modric still has his heart set on a move to Old Trafford.
Real Madrid star Modric smashed in a wonder goal to help the Spanish champions beat United on a controversial night of European drama in Manchester a week ago.
Now it has emerged that the 27-year-old Croatian midfielder still harbours dreams of a move back to the Barclays Premier League with United.
Heartbreaker: Luka Modric's goal sent Real Madrid through at the expense of Manchester United
Modric was high on the wishlist of United boss Sir Alex Ferguson two summers ago as he tried to replace Paul Scholes. But United were put off by the prospect of another summer of haggling with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, with whom they clashed over the purchase of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.
Modric eventually left White Hart Lane for Real in a 33m deal last summer but has not been a guaranteed starter in Jose Mourinho’s team and his goal at Old Trafford last week was only his second of a difficult season. The diminutive midfielder is not in a rush to quit Real but did let it be known when in Manchester last week that he would be very keen on a future switch to Old Trafford.
Since missing out on Modric first time round, United have of course bought Japanese international Shinji Kagawa.
Exposed Modric has found first-team football difficult to secure at Real, where Mesut Ozil is a rival for his place
Nevertheless, Scholes is expected to retire this summer, Ryan Giggs has perhaps just a season left and Wayne Rooney will attract strong interest from PSG and Bayern Munich at the end of the season.
Still only 27, Modric is young enough to tempt Ferguson, who has been a huge admirer since he first arrived in England from Dynamo Zagreb in 2008.
United, meanwhile, are still waiting to find out if defender Rio Ferdinand will be punished by the FA for an off-the-ball clash with Fernando Torres during Sunday’s 2-2 FA Cup draw with Chelsea.
Controversial: Rio Ferdinand is waiting to hear if he'll be punished by the FA
The FA are likely to make a decision this morning while Ferdinand himself has warned that United cannot let their Champions League setback affect the rest of the season.
He said: ‘That won’t happen. We will go into training and start working towards the weekend. Cup competitions are different from the league. We know what we have to do.’