Tottenham Hotspur legend Gary Mabbutt has told Football FanCast that Luka Modric will go down as one of the best ever signings in the club’s history.
Spurs face Dynamo Zagreb in the last-16 of the Europa League on Thursday, a meeting with the team from whom they signed the Croatia international.
Spurs paid £16.5m to acquire Modric’s signature back in 2008.
Sky Sports reported at the time that Spurs had beaten off competition from the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal to secure Modric and he went on to become one of the most indispensable players of that era.
He made 160 appearances for the club, becoming a focal point of Harry Redknapp’s Spurs team and helping the club qualify for the Champions League for the first time in the Premier League era.
A metronomic passer, capable of splitting defences apart, and a tireless worker too, he played in the same Spurs team as Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart, as Spurs reclaimed the tag of being one of the most entertaining teams in the Premier League.
He did not win a trophy before his move to Real Madrid but he has gone on to become one of the very best players in the world.
Modric has won the Champions League four times, again linking up with Bale in Spain, along with La Liga twice.
He even broke the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo duopoly as he won the Ballon d’Or after helping Croatia to the World Cup final in 2018.
Speaking to FFC ahead of this week’s clash with Zagreb, Mabbutt was asked where Modric ranks among the best Spurs signings of all time.
He was effusive in his praise and said: “I’ve been talking to a lot of Spurs fans who are over the age of 70 in this last year, and you talk about our greatest ever signings, and they’re talking about the Jimmy Greaves’ of this world. Then you’re coming up, the Paul Gascoignes of this world, the Jurgen Klinsmanns, the David Ginolas.
“But yeah, for me, I loved Luka, as a player, I got on very well with him. I did a few club tours with Luka and he’s a fantastic guy. Fantastic player. And he’s gone to Real Madrid, I think he’s showed Real Madrid what a great player that he is.
“So yes, he will be regarded as one of our best signings because, certainly for myself, I enjoyed Luka, both as a character and as a player.
“And he has gone on and he’s shown not only the Premier League, but obviously Real Madrid, what a great player that he is.”
Modric, 35, is out of contract in the summer so it remains to be seen whether he will be at the Santiago Bernabeu next season.
Perhaps one last link-up with Bale can’t be ruled out.