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Luka Modric explains why he didn’t join Chelsea from Tottenham in 2011 – despite Roman Abramovich’s “amazing” yacht

Luka Modric
(Image credit: PA Images)

Luka Modric has revealed that Tottenham blocked his move to Chelsea in 2011 after he was invited for talks on Roman Abramovich’s superyacht. 

The Blues came knocking for the Croatia international at the end of the 2010/11 campaign, when he was named as Spurs’ player of the season.

But chairman Daniel Levy stood firm by rejecting three bids from their London rivals, despite Modric being open to a move, and he stayed on for another season at White Hart Lane before joining Real Madrid a year later.

Modric 319

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking in the latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine - which you can order here - the playmaker explained why the deal with Chelsea didn’t work out. 

“Tottenham didn’t want to sell me to them, that’s why!” he said. 

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“To be honest, I didn’t have big expectations that it would happen – it was always really difficult that Tottenham would sell me to Chelsea, especially because they’re rival teams from the same city. 

“It was nice to know that they were interested in signing me, because it showed that I was doing well, but it didn’t happen simply because Tottenham just didn’t want to sell me.”

Chelsea’s courtship of the Croatian included a trip for the player to meet Blues owner Abramovich on his yacht in the south of France - an experience he hasn’t forgotten. 

“It was a massive yacht! It was a nice moment and we had a small chat – he’s a very pleasant person,” he said.

“I met him there for the first time and we spoke a bit, but that was it. That yacht was amazing, though…”

Luka Modric

(Image credit: PA)

Levy’s resistance ultimately killed off any chance of a move across London, but Modric insists he has no hard feelings about the experience and backed the Spurs chairman to continue operating in a similar manner. 

“I think everyone knows that Daniel is a very tough negotiator, and from that standpoint it’s really good for the club,” said the 35-year-old. 

“I think he’s done so many great things for the club: they’ve progressed so well under him, and he always looks after their interests. 

“As a player, sometimes you can’t understand this – you have something on your mind; you want to go; or you want to do something. But he was always looking after the best interests of Tottenham. That’s Daniel’s strong side and he needs to continue being like that, because the club is the most important thing.”

Spurs made progress during Modric’s four years at the club, improving from eighth to fourth place between his first and last seasons, and reaching the Champions League quarter-finals in 2010/11. 

But he left without a trophy, and the north London club’s wait for silverware has now stretched to 12 years since their 2007/08 League Cup triumph.

Asked why Spurs didn’t win a trophy during his time there, Modric said: “It’s difficult to say. We really had a very good team, with plenty of talent and potential.” 

“Maybe we could have done something more. We were close – we reached a League Cup final, and the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley twice. We were close. 

“But it’s difficult in England. It isn’t easy to win things, because there are so many big teams with great players. 

“I think we played some excellent football and the fans enjoyed watching us, but it’s a shame that group didn’t win a trophy because I think we possessed everything that’s necessary to win titles. 

“We achieved important things, though: qualifying for the Champions League in 2009-10, then again in 2011-12. 

“Sadly, Chelsea then won the Champions League and we didn’t go. Spurs started growing as a team and a club with us there. That was also important.”

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