Luka Modric has admitted that he and his Real Madrid teammates were 'sure' that Cristiano Ronaldo would stay at the club this summer, even going as far as making bets between themselves about his future.
Ronaldo moved to Juventus after the World Cup in the summer's headline transfer, with manager Zinedine Zidane also heading out the door to take some time off from football.
Eden Hazard: “I hope that Luca Modric wins the Ballon d’Or. It would be the ultimate proof that football is more than just goals and assists. Modric is just like Zidane. Zidane scored important goals, but never more than 20 per season. I enjoy watching Modric.” #cfc pic.twitter.com/PXj3VcToXN— Kristof Terreur 📰 (@HLNinEngeland) October 13, 2018
Speaking to L'Equipe on the current international break, Modric admitted: "I did not think that Zidane was going to go, nor Ronaldo. When the rumour about Cristiano came up we made bets among ourselves in the dressing room and we were sure he was going to stay, but everyone makes his life choices."
Modric became the first player in a decade to break Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's joint hold over the FIFA Player of the Year award, but insisted that he prefers to ignore individual awards and comparisons between himself and the Portugal international.
"I do not appreciate the overexposure of the media, frankly, I do not care much about going further in this area," he said. "Cristiano Ronaldo is in another level of football and it is normal that he is also from the media point of view, I prefer simplicity.
"To be honest, I do not like to talk like that and say: 'Yes, I'm the one who deserves the Ballon d'Or.' The important thing for me is to be in the field as I have been for months, this year 2018 has undoubtedly been the best of my career and my only goal is to continue at this level."