Madrid signs Modric from Tottenham to 5-year deal

Slumping Real Madrid finally signed Luka Modric from Tottenham

on Monday to close a summer-long transfer saga, with the creative

Croatia midfielder agreeing to a five-year deal with the Spanish

champions.

Modric passed his routine medical before being presented to a

small gathering at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium where he signed a

contract to conclude the deal that came at a reported cost of ?35

million ($44 million) to Madrid.

”Finally this happened and I am relieved,” Modric told a news

conference. ”It’s the biggest challenge of my footballing career

and I’m sure I will succeed. I have everything I need here, best

coach in the world, best players, and I just need to enjoy

everything and play my football.”

Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Getafe – which confirmed the club’s worst

start since 1973 – appears to have spurred Madrid into ending the

drawn-out chase by securing a player it hopes can help kickstart

its season. The Spanish giant did not release financial terms of

the deal.

”It’s not important how you start the league, it’s important

how you finish,” said Modric, who added that he is ready to play

Wednesday against Barcelona despite having only trained apart from

Tottenham’s team for the past month as the club negotiated his

exit.

”There is no hard feelings from my side, and I think it’s the

same from Tottenham. This is just a new page in my life.”

The 26-year-old Modric made 160 appearances for the north London

club, scoring 17 goals, since joining in 2008 from Dinamo Zagreb

for a fee of ?21 million (then $32.7 million). Modric has scored

eight goals from 57 appearances with the national team.

”Luka has been a terrific player for us, whilst we preferred

not to part with him, we are pleased that it is to Real Madrid,”

said Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who managed to keep Modric last

season despite strong interest from Chelsea.

Modric’s arrival also signals a possible exit for Madrid

midfielder Kaka with only a few days remaining before the transfer

window closes at midnight Aug. 31. AC Milan is reportedly

interested in taking the Brazilian back to the San Siro.

Modric will likely train with his new teammates for the first

time later Monday with a possible debut coming in the return leg of

the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona. Madrid trails 3-2 going

into the game at the Bernabeu.

”Of course I would like to play, it’s the biggest game in world

football,” Modric said. ”The coach will decide where he wants to

use me. I’m happy wherever he puts me.”

Madrid has lost two straight games since opening the Spanish

league season with a draw. It is already five points adrift of

title rival Barcelona in the standings after just two league

games.

Follow Paul Logothetis at http://twitter.com/PaulLogoAP