Real Madrid star Luka Modric has reached his peak and is the finest midfielder in the world, according to compatriot Darijo Srna.
Modric has won two Champions Leagues, two Club World Cups and the Copa del Rey among a host of honours since moving to the Spanish capital in 2012.
The 31-year-old was rewarded with a new contract lasting until 2020 last October and was named in the FIFPro World XI last month for his performances during 2016.
And former Croatia captain Srna, who retired from international football after Euro 2016, says the ex-Tottenham star has no equal in his position.
"Modric is beyond just a friend, he's the best midfielder in the world right now," he told Marca. "I have no doubts; I'm not saying that he is one of the best, I affirm that he is the best.
"Luka has grown over the years, I think he is now at his peak. Since he arrived he has been improving with the team. Real Madrid are having a great run of results, but without Luka they would have problems."
Srna also backed Mateo Kovacic to develop into a leading player for Madrid after an inconsistent first 18 months at the Santiago Bernabeu.
"I'm sure he will do well because he's an incredible talent," he said. "I adore him. Although he has grown a lot as a player, he has not yet realised his potential... but he will eventually.
"He is the future of Madrid. He needs time because in just three years he has gone from Dinamo Zagreb to play at Inter and Real Madrid."
Ivan Rakitic's form has been the subject of criticism at Barcelona this season and his future was cast into doubt when he was dropped from the team by Luis Enrique at the end of last year.
Srna, however, insists he will prove his value to the champions.
"Rakitic has demonstrated his quality many times and scored a goal in the Champions League final!" he said. "I am sure he will work hard to get back to [his] best level. I trust Rakitic very much."
Srna himself rejected the chance to join Barca in order to stay at Shakhtar Donetsk and he is not interested in discussing the prospect of a move.
"I do not talk about those rumours, Shakhtar is my club, my love, my life," the 34-year-old said.
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