Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen has claimed to be at least as good a footballer as Croatia star Luka Modrić, ahead of the Danes' clash with Croatia in the FIFA World Cup round of 16 on Sunday.
Quoted by Danish tabloid BT, Eriksen said, "I do not consider myself to be worse than him [Modrić]."
The Tottenham star did also acknowledge the Croat's outstanding achievements, but attributed them partly to the fact that Modrić plays for serial UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid. "Modrić has won an incredible number of accolades," said Eriksen, adding: "Of course, the team in Real Madrid has helped him, but he has played to a very high standard."
The Dane also sounded enthusiastic about the prospect of taking on Modrić on Sunday: "He is the type of player you enjoy to challenge yourself against. For the national team is more attacking that he is for Madrid," said Eriksen.
Eriksen's audacious claim to be on a par with Modrić is at least partly supported by statistics. Eriksen either scored or assisted 27 goals for Spurs in all competitions last season, and his tally of 14 goals was just three fewer than the Croat's overall total in four seasons with the Lilywhites.
Nevertheless, Eriksen arguably still has plenty to prove at the highest level of the game. His Spurs side faded to defeat against Juventus in the last 16 of last season's Champions League, while Modrić produced an imperious display in Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Liverpool in the final.
It will be interesting to note whether Eriksen can live up to his bold claim on Sunday. Both he and Modrić have impressed so far in this summer's World Cup, and they have each scored one outstanding goal - Eriksen produced a sublime finish against Australia, while Modrić fired in a spectacular long range strike against Argentina.