Serie A

Modric: Spalletti admits defeat in bid to sign Madrid midfielder

Despite the Serie A club's efforts to sign the Croatia international, the Inter manager said he expects him to stay in Spain but the link was a "good sign."

Spalletti expects Modric to stay at Madrid despite 'great' efforts by Inter

Luciano Spalletti feels Luka Modric's interest in joining Inter is a "great sign" for the Italian club - but he still expects the midfielder to remain with Real Madrid.

Modric's future in the Spanish capital has been the subject of speculation, the Croatia international having been heavily linked with a move to Inter.

However, reports have also suggested the 32-year-old - who has helped Madrid be crowned champions of Europe in four of the past five seasons - could be set to sign a new contract with his employers.

Speaking after his side's 1-0 International Champions Cup win over Atletico Madrid, Spalletti praised Inter's hierarchy for their attempts to attract a player who won the Golden Ball at this year's World Cup.

While the Nerazzurri boss predicts Modric will stay put, he is happy with the squad at his disposal as they prepare to return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

"The fact that he has interest in us is a great sign for our project," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"It's not easy to get these type of players. He may not come but our directors still did a great job, so let's see.

"I don't think he will come, because Real Madrid still want to count on him. We're a strong side. If Modric were to join us, we'd be very strong."

Modric made his return to action for Madrid on Saturday, coming off the bench to a rousing reception from the Santiago Bernabeu crowd during the 3-1 friendly win over AC Milan.

While potentially missing out on one transfer target, Inter did manage to sign Lautaro Martínez and the forward again impressed against Atlético, including scoring a sensational volley in the first half.

The Argentina international had also found the net in the victory over Lyon in the pre-season competition, suggesting he can help ease the burden on compatriot Mauro Icardi.

"Lautaro's goal was a really beautiful piece of play but the consistency that he showed throughout the match was more important," Spalletti said of Martínez.