Real Madrid director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno backed Zinedine Zidane, saying he wanted the coach to return as soon as possible.

Zidane is under pressure at the helm of Madrid after a humiliating Copa del Rey loss to Alcoyano on Wednesday.

The Frenchman did not oversee Saturday's 4-1 LaLiga win over Deportivo Alaves after testing positive for coronavirus.

While Zidane has come under fire, Butragueno defended the 48-year-old, who has led Madrid to two LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies across two spells in charge.

"Everyone knows what Zidane means to us. What we want is for him to return to us as soon as possible," he told Movistar+.

"We know what football is like. We have been around for many years.

"When the team doesn't win we have to listen to comments and rumours of all kinds. You have to be united and work."

Luka Modric has also faced an uncertain future at Madrid, with the Croatian midfielder's contract expiring at the end of the season.

But Butragueno hinted Modric was set to stay at Madrid as reports suggest the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner had agreed to a one-year deal.

"There are players like Modric who make this sport better. His pass to [Ferland] Mendy in the first half was a fine thing. It's a luxury for us to have him," he said.

"He's given us so much. He's still giving us so much and he'll continue to do so."

Martin Odegaard has been left out of the Real Madrid squad to face Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey, while Luka Modric and Raphael Varane are rested and Sergio Ramos misses out through injury.

Norway international Odegaard has featured just twice for Madrid in all competitions since the start of December, and Wednesday's clash with third-tier Alcoyano appeared to represent a chance for him to receive some rare minutes.

However, the 22-year-old was not included on the 20-man list for the match at El Collao.

Varane and Modric, who have missed just one game each this season, were granted a rest by Zidane, with Castilla duo Victor Chust and Antonio Blanco called up instead.

Ramos played through discomfort experienced in the warm-up during the Supercopa de Espana defeat to Athletic Bilbao last week and did not train with his team-mates on Tuesday.

Rodrygo and Dani Carvajal are also unavailable due to injury.

Luka Modric says talks with Real Madrid over a new contract are "going in a good direction".

The Croatia star's deal expires at the end of the season but it was reported by Marca last month that an agreement was in place for a year-long extension.

The 2018 Ballon d'Or winner, now 35, has enjoyed a superb campaign for Madrid following early doubts over whether the return of Martin Odegaard could limit his involvement.

Of Madrid midfielders this season, nobody has scored more goals than Modric (four, level with Casemiro), while only Lucas Vazquez and Toni Kroos have created more goalscoring chances (30).

Modric has also played the most successful passes ending in the final third (451) of any Madrid midfielder this term, highlighting his attacking impact under Zinedine Zidane while Odegaard has struggled for minutes and Eden Hazard for fitness.

Ahead of the Supercopa de Espana clash with Athletic Bilbao, Modric suggested he has plenty of football left - and that it could be played in the Spanish capital.

"I can't say much. I'm speaking with the club and everything is going in a good direction," he said of his contract talks.

"I haven't changed anything in particular. I'm working a lot outside of training, I have the same desire to compete, the years are no problem at all."

The future of Sergio Ramos is similarly unclear and Modric was not prepared to offer any indication of the captain's plans.

"I can't position myself at anyone's side," he said. "Sergio is my friend and I want the best for him, for him to be happy.

"It's between him and the club. I can't get involved."

Modric was happy to offer some advice to Odegaard, though, the 22-year-old having played only nine times this season after returning following a fine loan spell with Real Sociedad.

"Last time I spoke to him, I told him I liked him as a player and a person, to keep fighting for his place in this team, that when he plays to make difference to show he deserves to be here," Modric said.

"To work and fight for your place is my advice for him."

The date of January 1 is typically the time for New Year's resolutions but for some footballers in Europe's top five leagues it signals the day they can plot a lucrative move to a new club.

A number of top players, including Barcelona's Lionel Messi, are out of contract at the end of the 2021 season and from the start of the year are free to open talks with other teams.

Messi, of course, will be the one that takes the limelight but there are some other big-name players who will be free to leave their clubs for nothing in six months.

Here's the best players (and a couple of pretty good second choices) who are out of contract in 2021 and make up a free transfers XI.

FREE TRANSFERS XI (4-3-3)

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Marko Dmitrovic)
The youngest goalkeeper ever to play for Italy – at 17 years and 189 days – has now matured into one of Serie A's most consistent performers between the sticks. The 21-year-old has been key to Milan's surge to the top of the table with four clean sheets in the league so far this season.

RB: Elseid Hysaj (Kenny Lala)
Comfortable on both the right and left flanks the versatile Albanian full-back, 26, has been a dependable, and largely unsung, part of Napoli's defence since 2015. He may lack the eye-catching assists of attacking defenders but Hysaj uses the ball intelligently in possession.

CB: Eric Garcia (Shkodran Mustafi)
A product of Barcelona's La Masia academy he joined Manchester City in 2017 where Pep Guardiola has been influential in his development. Blessed with an excellent reading of the game, and a superb positional sense, the 19-year-old has rejected a new contract at City and appears hungry for regular first-team football elsewhere.

CB: Sergio Ramos (Jerome Boateng)
The knees might be creaking at the age of 34, but the Real Madrid and Spain centre-back's mix of bloody-minded determination and charismatic leadership make him an asset to nearly any defence despite being at the back end of his career.

LB: David Alaba (Romain Saiss)
Able to operate in defence or midfield the 28-year-old Austria international has spent a decade as one of Bayern Munich's most consistent and reliable players. With nine Bundesliga and two Champions League winners' medals under his belt he has bucketloads of experience at the top level.

CM: Georginio Wijnaldum (Hakan Calhanoglu)
The Dutch midfielder has been converted by Jurgen Klopp from a goalscoring attacker into an intelligent midfield workaholic integral to Liverpool's style of play. Largely unheralded, he is man for the big occasion as his two goals in Liverpool's famous 4-0 comeback win over Barcelona demonstrate.

CM: Fernandinho (Mesut Ozil)
He turns 36 next May, and may lack the bite of old, but the Brazilian still has a lot to offer either as an efficient defensive midfielder or classy centre-back. Another player whose influence and quality may only be fully appreciated by City when he has actually left the club.

CM: Luka Modric (Julian Draxler)
A cultured and experienced midfield playmaker who, despite his diminutive frame, still oozes class whenever he is on the ball. Part of the furniture at Real Madrid since 2012 the 35-year-old Croatian looks like he still has plenty of years at the top ahead of him provided injuries do not take their toll.

RF: Lionel Messi (Florian Thauvin, Lucas Vazquez)
Should he stay or should he go? The transfer saga of 2020 looks set to dominate much of 2021 as well. Barcelona's greatest ever player needs no introduction. Since his debut in October 2004, Barca have won 55.9 per cent of their LaLiga games without Messi (won 66, drawn 39 and lost 22), compared to 73.7 per cent with him in the side (won 368, drawn 83 and lost 48).

CF: Sergio Aguero (Olivier Giroud, Arkadiusz Milik, Diego Costa)
Injury problems appear to be catching up with the 32-year-old Manchester City striker. On his day, there are few better natural finishers around. Aguero has more hat-tricks (12) than anyone else in the Premier League and is the highest non-English scorer in the history of the competition with 180 goals.

LF: Memphis Depay (Angel Di Maria)
A pitiful return of just two league goals in 33 appearances saw him jettisoned by Manchester United in 2017 but since then Depay has rebuilt his career and started to flourish. The Dutch forward has a respectable 62 goals in 154 appearances for Lyon in Ligue 1 and aged 26 is about to hit his peak.

Real Madrid's lost ground on LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid as their five-game winning streak in the competition came grinding to a halt in a 1-1 draw with Elche.

Luka Modric scored his third league goal of the season to give Zinedine Zidane's men the lead after 20 minutes as Madrid attacked freely while leaving some dangerous gaps at the back.

Elche created numerous good chances before equalising from the penalty spot, Fidel converting after Dani Carvajal's blatant foul on Antonio Barragan.

The result put a dampener on the feel-good factor Zidane had managed to generate around his club after bouncing back from a slow start to the season, with Atletico two points clear at the summit having beaten Getafe 1-0 earlier on Wednesday.

Toni Kroos headed narrowly wide from 10 yards in the third minute as Madrid started brightly but it was not long before Thibaut Courtois – making his 100th appearance for the club – had to get down smartly to parry Emiliano Rigoni's fierce drive away from the corner of his net.

Play swung from end to end and Marcelo shook the crossbar with a rasping half-volley from the edge of the Elche box in the 13th minute.

Moments later Modric gave Madrid the lead, sending a header into the top-right corner after Edgar Badia palmed Marco Asensio's thunderous shot onto the crossbar.

Madrid were awarded a penalty only for VAR to show that the ball hit Ivan Marcone's leg and not his hand, and six minutes into the second half Elche won a spot-kick of their own when Carvajal pulled down Antonio Barragan.

Fidel buried the penalty into the bottom-left corner of the net and 10 minutes later Lucas Boye grazed the outside of the post with a low shot from the edge of the Madrid box.

Boye fired high and wide when he burst through the ranks of Madrid defenders again and Carvajal missed a chance to atone for his error when Badia saved his close-range effort on the counter.

The returning Eden Hazard missed the only opening that came his way and Carvajal conceded a stoppage-time free-kick from which Gonzalo Verdu drew a fine save from Courtois, who parried away the last kick of the game to ensure the points were shared.

 

What does it mean? No more room for complacency at Madrid

Victories over Sevilla, Atletico, Athletic Bilbao, Eibar and Granada put a spring back in Zidane's step going into this game, but sloppy defending suggested his players underestimated Elche.

Jorge Almiron's side, who could climb as high as ninth if they win their game in hand, may be winless in their past nine LaLiga games, but this was the first time in nine top-flight meetings with Madrid that they managed to avoid defeat.

Modric makes Madrid tick

The return of Modric restored a fluency to Madrid's attacking play, and he contributed two efforts on goal – including the one that went in – as well as making the third most touches of any player.

Calamitous Carvajal

Aside from conceding the penalty in clumsy fashion, Carvajal struggled to deal with the threat of Fidel and Boye, conceding possession 18 times – more than any other player on the pitch.

What's next?

Elche's first game of 2021 sees them travel to Athletic on Sunday, while Madrid are in action at home against Celta Vigo a day earlier.

What does the future hold for Phil Foden?

Foden is highly rated at Manchester City, but he is struggling for regular game time.

Could Real Madrid prise the Englishman to the Santiago Bernabeu?

 

TOP STORY – LOS BLANCOS EYE FODEN

LaLiga champions Real Madrid are ready to pounce for Manchester City's Phil Foden, according to the Mirror.

City sensation Foden has been struggling for regular game time under manager Pep Guardiola, starting just five of his 10 Premier League appearances this season.

Madrid have emerged as serious suitors for the 20-year-old sensation and there is a growing belief that he could be prised to the Spanish capital.

 

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are considering a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Julian Brandt, reports The Athletic. Out of favour at Dortmund this season, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is reportedly keen to reinforce his struggling side in January.

Manchester United could send Donny van de Beek to Inter on loan as they look to bring in Christian Eriksen from the Serie A side, claims Calciomercato. Eriksen is set to leave Inter in January and the Danish midfielder has been linked to Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain.

- As question marks grow over Samir Handanovic, Calciomercato says Inter are considering Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso as a successor to the long-serving Nerazzurri star.

Madrid are confident of re-signing veteran star Luka Modric, according to Fabrizio Romano. It comes as Madrid still try to negotiate a new contract with captain and soon-to-be free agent Sergio Ramos, who has been linked to the likes of Juventus, PSG, United and City. Modric has previously been a target for Inter and Milan.

Luka Jovic would not be against a return to Eintracht Frankfurt but the out-of-favour Madrid forward is eyeing Milan, reports Calciomercato.

Karim Benzema led the way as Real Madrid claimed a fifth successive win in a 3-1 triumph at Eibar on Sunday to go second in LaLiga.

Zinedine Zidane had been under intense pressure at the start of December due to a run of poor results, but the win at Ipurua was their fifth on the bounce across all competitions and leaves them on the tail of bitter rivals and pacesetters Atletico Madrid.

Benzema looked in the mood right from the start of an action-packed first half, the striker scoring and then teeing up Luka Modric in the early exchanges, before also having an effort disallowed for offside soon after Kike Garcia's stunning effort gave Eibar a lifeline.

Eibar certainly had their chances to clinch what had seemed an unlikely draw, but failed to take their opportunities and were punished again when Benzema played through Lucas Vazquez to wrap up the points in stoppage time.

Zinedine Zidane believes his Real Madrid midfield stars have rediscovered their best form after an influential display in their 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid.

Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos started together in LaLiga for just the third time this season on Saturday and Zidane's team selection proved effective.

Madrid led through Casemiro's header and then extended their advantage courtesy of a Jan Oblak own goal in the second half.

Zidane was particularly taken by the displays of Modric and Kroos, with the World Cup winner completing 87 of 90 passes, the most in a league Madrid derby since at least 2005-06.

"We used [Modric and Kroos] to find the way out, it's true," said Zidane, who is unbeaten in seven games against Atleti. "We had to do it.

"And then playing fast from one side to the other and with diagonals, we found gaps. They're f***ing great, they're exceptional.

"Karim [Benzema], too, and Lucas [Vazquez], he is phenomenal, and [Dani] Carvajal, and our captain [Sergio Ramos], [Raphael] Varane. They are all very good."

The coach was further asked about the trio in the centre of the pitch, who now have competition in the form of Federico Valverde and Martin Odegaard.

"They are at the level of the three Champions Leagues we won in a row," he said. "They are playing at a very high level."

Victory against Atleti brought to an end an extremely successful week, having also won 1-0 at Sevilla and 2-0 against Borussia Monchengladbach to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

"We confirmed what we did in the two previous games," said the coach, whose side restricted Atleti to one shot on target across the 90 minutes and no efforts at all before half-time.

"We competed very well throughout the game.

"But we don't have anything to celebrate because we haven't won anything. It's a good week.

"I'm happy for the players because they always believe in what they do. And when they get things done I'm happy. Let's enjoy and think about Tuesday [against Athletic Bilbao]."

Real Madrid reached the Champions League last 16 and eased the pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane with a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach.

Karim Benzema netted two first-half headers to settle the contest in the Spanish capital, which Madrid had to win to make certain they did not crash out at the group stage of the competition for the first time.

Gladbach slipped into second spot in Group B with their defeat, but Inter's draw with Shakhtar Donetsk means the Bundesliga side join Los Blancos in the next round.

This was billed as a must-win contest not only for the 13-time European champions' hopes of competing for the trophy, but also for Zidane, whose future came under intense scrutiny after last week's loss to Shakhtar.

There was a clear response to the critics as Madrid led inside nine minutes, Lucas Vazquez picking out Benzema, who headed expertly beyond the reach of Yann Sommer.

Alassane Plea should have levelled but clipped a finish wide of the right-hand post after being sent through on goal by Florian Neuhaus.

That miss was punished just after the half-hour mark, Rodrygo's wicked cross setting up Benzema for a header that was too much for Sommer to keep out.

It would have been 3-0 before the break had Sommer not got fingertips to Luka Modric's volley to turn the ball onto the post, before the excellent Madrid midfielder had an emphatic strike ruled out for an earlier offside against Raphael Varane.

Sommer made a terrific save to keep out a Toni Kroos strike, although Gladbach were certainly improved after the interval and saw another chance go begging when Plea dragged a shot narrowly wide.

Sommer was again at full stretch to claw away Sergio Ramos' header before Benzema's follow-up somehow crashed off the underside of the crossbar and away, and the woodwork again denied Madrid in the closing stages when Vazquez's shot rebounded off the upright.

What does it mean? Stars stand up to spare Zidane

Given the context, this was Madrid's best performance and result of the season.

The ignominy of dropping out of the competition after 28 consecutive qualifications from the group stage would likely have left Zidane's position untenable. As it is, his key players all produced when it mattered to send Madrid through as group winners and keep their coach in a job.

Gladbach disappointed here but have done superbly overall to qualify for the next round.

Modric masterful

Modric was close to his Ballon d'Or-winning standards of two years ago, especially in the first half, when he was unlucky not to score at least one excellent goal.

He attempted more passes in the opposition half (54) than any other player as he knitted the midfield and forwards together with precision.

Plea wilts on the big stage

Plea really should have scored in the first half when Madrid only led by one goal, and his miss seemed to condition the rest of his performance.

He was wayward with his two good openings and completed the fewest passes (13) of any Gladbach starting player not hauled off at half-time.

What's next?

Atletico Madrid visit Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano for Saturday's LaLiga derby match. Gladbach are next in action at home to Hertha Berlin.

Luka Modric acknowledged Real Madrid are in a "very difficult situation" with their Champions League hopes in the balance following another defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Madrid crashed to a 2-0 loss at Shakhtar on Tuesday in a result which leaves the LaLiga champions third in Group B and facing group-stage elimination heading into the final matchday.

Upstaged by Deportivo Alaves in LaLiga on Saturday, Madrid slumped to back-to-back defeats after succumbing to second-half strikes from Dentinho and Manor Solomon in Kiev.

Madrid have now conceded nine goals in the Champions League this season, their worst defensive total at this stage in the competition's history.

Zinedine Zidane's side also lost to Shakhtar at home and so trail Tuesday's opponents due to their head-to-head record, sitting a point behind pool leaders Borussia Monchengladbach but two ahead of Inter.

Reflecting on the reverse, midfielder Modric said: "It's difficult to explain after a first half where we played quite well and where we created a few chances, but we couldn't score the goals.

"In the second half, after they scored, everything changed and we started playing another game. We started getting nervous on the pitch. It's difficult to explain.

"It's a very difficult situation but it is what it is. There's still a game left and we're going to give everything to try to win that last game."

He added: "We lack the consistency that we've always had. We have one amazing game, two bad games, one good, two bad... it is what it is.

"We lack consistency and we have to improve as soon as possible."

Madrid ended a run of nine consecutive matches scoring at least one goal in the Champions League group stage (23 goals in total) – the longest run since another of 16 games between November 2015 and September 2018.

Meanwhile, all five of Shakhtar's goals in the competition this season have been scored against Zinedine Zidane's Madrid, who are seven points adrift of LaLiga leaders Real Sociedad.

Shakhtar became the fifth team to win their two Champions League group-stage clashes against Madrid in a single season, following CSKA Moscow in 2018-19, Juventus in 2008-09, Bayern Munich in the 1999-2000 second stage and Ajax in 1995-96.

"When our opponents go ahead, we're not right," Modric said. "We lose confidence and we don't play as we did before we conceded. We have to change that. We have to find solutions to improve.

"We created chances but we struggled to score. If we don't score, things get difficult for us. That's how it is, that's football. It's not maths and it's not always going to go as we'd like.

"We have to look at the positives, there's still a game to go and we're going to fight until the end."

Madrid can still guarantee their progress with a win when they host Gladbach on December 9 after travelling to Sevilla in LaLiga on Saturday.

"If you're always winning, you have more confidence, and when you lose, [not having confidence] is normal," said Toni Kroos. "As a team, you feel a lot better when you're winning and we have to get back to winning.

"We'll look at the situation in the group. All we have to do is win the last game, which is what we can do ourselves. If Gladbach don't win [against Inter, speaking ahead of the Nerazzurri's 3-2 win], we have it in our hands."

Luka Modric is confident Real Madrid will recover from a dreadful week after they suffered a second straight home defeat ahead of Saturday's Clasico at Barcelona.

LaLiga champions Madrid will head to Camp Nou at a low ebb after their 1-0 reverse at the hands of Cadiz was followed by a 3-2 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Zinedine Zidane's side were three goals down at half-time, before a sublime Modric strike sought to launch a comeback.

Vinicius Junior got another back, yet the Brazil winger was then in an offside position in front of the Shakhtar goalkeeper when Federico Valverde scored a stoppage-time equaliser that was struck off as a result.

Sergio Ramos was not involved and Karim Benzema started from the bench as Zidane turned one eye towards Barca, but Modric recognised Madrid were not good enough against a Ukrainian outfit missing 10 first-team players due to coronavirus.

"In the first half, we were not up to the competition," Modric said. "In the second, we tried to improve and we improved, but it was not enough to try to draw or win the game.

"We have to improve - this is obvious. We lacked confidence today in everything we did in the first half. But we have to continue.

"The next game is coming quickly and there is no time to complain. We have to do better in the next games.

"Zidane told us that we have to press more and better than in the first half, that we are together. I think that in the second half we have done it and we have scored two goals.

"It is a tough defeat but there is still a lot to do. I'm sure we'll improve.

"They scored the first goal and we lowered our heads and lost confidence. In general we are not happy but we are sure to go better.

"For the next game, we have to be together, trust in ourselves and in our quality. We have not forgotten how to play football.

"El Clasico is always a different game and we are sure we can be up to the task."

Didier Deschamps has said he cannot promise Antoine Griezmann a place in the France team - even though his statistics for Les Bleus look great on paper.

Griezmann has struggled to find his best form since joining Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in July 2019, both with club and country.

He was player of the tournament and top scorer at Euro 2016, and then a World Cup winner with France two years later, but at the age of 29 appears to have lost some of his spark.

Deschamps believes that can return, and on the eve of a Nations League clash with Croatia he said there is no doubting Griezmann's class, even if his most recent form has left much to be desired.

Griezmann was unimpressive in the goalless draw with Portugal on Sunday in Paris, albeit one of a host of star names who failed to live up to their billing, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

France head coach Deschamps said of Griezmann: "I know you're looking at the last game, but look at his stats: 81 caps, 32 goals, 21 assists. It speaks for itself."

He added, however: "It doesn't guarantee him anything, like some other players who could have done better against Portugal. I know his talent and what he can give to the team."

Former France midfielder Alain Giresse questioned the role Griezmann occupied against Portugal, which to his eyes was a more deep-lying position than normal.

Deschamps is aware there is plenty of talk surrounding the man who scored twice and had two assists in France's run to World Cup glory two years ago.

Griezmann's numbers were down at Barcelona last season, with his conversion rate of what Opta defines as 'big chances' a disappointing 38.46 per cent, having been 47.37 in his final year at Atletico and around 60 per cent in each of the previous two campaigns.

"Antoine's position, I can talk about it with him, we've done it for a while," Deschamps said.

"I know very well where he's the most effective, the most influential. It's in a central position obviously. He lacks rhythm, you know why. So, he needs a bit of time, he was much better in the second half compared to the first one [against Portugal]. He's an attacking player but, as he runs a lot, sometimes he's an offensive midfielder."

Deschamps expressed his admiration of Croatia playmaker Luka Modric, who was the driving force behind his country's run to the World Cup final against France in Moscow.

"Luka Modric is a great player and Croatia are much stronger with him, he's very influential n the team, he's a leader on and off the pitch," Deschamps said.

"He didn't get the Ballon d'Or by chance. If Croatia reached the World Cup final in Russia, it's a lot because of Luka Modric.

"On top of that, he's someone I really like, I have met him a few times, he's a good person, very humble and honest.

"We'll watch for him, like every time we're playing against a key player. His position is not very set, but every time he has the ball, he can improve Croatia's game."

Dayot Upamecano is a player in demand.

The 21-year-old RB Leipzig defender and France international is wanted by some of Europe's biggest clubs.

Could he find himself playing for Liverpool or Manchester United?

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE GIANTS WANT UPAMECANO

Premier League champions Liverpool and rivals  Manchester United will go head-to-head to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano, according to Bild.

Upamecano was linked to the likes of Liverpool, United, Real Madrid , Paris Saint-Germain , Barcelona Arsenal and Bayern Munich before re-signing with Bundesliga side Leipzig in July.

However, Liverpool and United are expected to return at the end of the season as they look to bolster their defences.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims Luka Modric is prepared to take a wage cut in order to extend his Madrid contract. The 35-year-old midfielder is set to become a free agent at season's end. He has previously been linked to Milan .

- United goalkeeper Sergio Romero wants to move to MLS , says the Daily Mail. Romero, who is behind David de Gea and Dean Henderson at Old Trafford, was reportedly close to joining Everton on loan before Monday's deadline.

- Calciomercato reports Milan are prepared to make another attempt to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare in January.

Atletico Madrid are weighing up a move for Valencia's Geoffrey Kondogbia following Thomas Partey's switch to Arsenal, according to Cadena Ser.

Tottenham should make an ambitious bid to sign Luka Modric from Real Madrid alongside Gareth Bale, according to their former manager Harry Redknapp.

Redknapp was Spurs boss when they qualified for the Champions League with Modric and Bale in the team before both departed for Madrid.

The pair have proven hugely successful in Spain, winning Europe's elite club competition on four occasions.

But Bale, who scored in two Champions League finals for Madrid, has fallen out of favour in recent seasons at Madrid and is now in talks over a move back to Tottenham.

As Spurs thrash out the finer details in that blockbuster transfer, Redknapp urged chairman Daniel Levy to go back to the Santiago Bernabeu for a further shock swoop.

"I'd go and see if I could get Luka Modric back," he told Stats Perform News. "Take the pair of them, Bale and Modric.

"That would be a great coup. Luka is still a fantastic player. That would be amazing.

"I still feel they need somebody there; they've got the forward players, but they need somebody to supply the bullets.

"That's where someone like Luka Modric can play killer passes, into great movement up front. They lack a player like that."

While Redknapp remains concerned by Tottenham's midfield, the prospect of seeing Bale join Harry Kane and Son Heung-min in an attacking three excites him.

"That is a scary forward line," he said. "I could see them playing Harry central and Son and Gareth coming off the line and playing.

"I had a silly spell at Tottenham towards the end where I played Gareth on the right and the Tottenham fans were singing, 'He's Gareth Bale and he plays on the left'.

"Well, he's never played on the left since then. He played for Wales through the middle.

"Really him and Son are two players who you'd just want to let go and play and do damage wherever they pop up on the pitch in any of those forward positions.

"It's a bit like at Liverpool, like they do with their front three. They interchange positions fantastically well. And I think they'll do the same at Tottenham."

Luka Modric has revealed he held talks with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in 2011 over a possible transfer from Tottenham.

The Croatia international starred for Tottenham in the 2010-11 campaign - their first in the Champions League - and was strongly linked with a move away.

He admitted at the time he was interested in a switch to London rivals Chelsea but Spurs were said to have knocked back a £22million offer at the time.

Modric was fully aware of Chelsea's attempts to sign him and, nearly a decade on, he has opened up on the conversation he held with Abramovich on the billionaire's yacht.

"With the 2010-11 Premier League season over, I was ready for my summer vacation," he wrote in Luka Modric: My Autobiography, which is being serialised by The Guardian.

"But it didn't last long, as my agents - Vlado Lemic and Davor Curkovic - passed on Chelsea's wish to sign me.

"I was open to the idea of moving, but then things happened at lightning speed. First, [my wife] Vanja and I took a private jet from Zadar to Cannes, where my management team were waiting.

"It was all very exciting. Twenty or so people, who seemed part of the security detail, met us at the boat. It was quick and well organised; just as we made ourselves comfortable on one of the luxury decks, Abramovich showed up.

"He was accompanied by his wife Dasha and their son. I was fascinated by the discreet disappearance of all the security people just as he arrived. It was obvious they were well trained - their timing was perfect.

"He wasn't beating around the bush and said: 'We know you are a quality player. I'd like you to sign for Chelsea'. I had come to his yacht to talk, so it was evident I wished the same."

Modric added: "My feeling was that it was time for a move - I wanted to fight for trophies and win titles, and I felt this wouldn't happen if I stayed at Tottenham. I wanted to move to a more ambitious club.

"'Do you think Tottenham will resist your transfer? Are they going to put up a fight?' Abramovich asked. 'I think the negotiations are going to be tough', I replied, because I knew the clubs were not on good terms."

Modric stayed put at Tottenham for another season before being granted a move to Real Madrid, where he has spent the past eight years and won the Ballon d'Or in 2018.

"I didn't know if and when [Tottenham chairman Daniel] Levy would agree to sell me," he said.

"But I was convinced it was time to move on, to a new and bigger challenge. After four wonderful years, during which we felt at home in England, Vanja and I knew this life had come to an end."

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.