REAL MADRID

Luka Modric: "Sergio Ramos is a the best defender in the world"

Luka Modric was full of compliments for team mates Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema after winning his second LaLiga title with Real Madrid.

Modric: 'Rock' Ramos is a phenomenon - the best defender in the world

Luka Modric believs his club team mate Sergio Ramos as a football phenomenon and says the Real Madrid captain is the best defender in the world. Ramos skippered Madrid to the club's 34th LaLiga title this season and his fifth at the club, scoring 11 times on the way - a record for a defender this century.

Modric and Ramos, friends on and off the pitch

The 34-year-old has won 22 trophies with Los Blancos since joining from Sevilla in 2005 and remains integral to Zinedine Zidane's plans, with some suggesting he could have been in the running for the Ballon d'Or this year before the 2020 award was cancelled. Modric, who has become a good friend of Ramos since moving to the Spanish capital in 2012, says there can be no doubting his quality.

"My brother Sergio is a phenomenon," he told Sportske Novosti. "And I'm not just saying that because in eight years we've created a really special relationship, we hang out as families, go on holiday together, or because we've had fantastic footballing experiences and successes together. Ramos is a 34-year-old rock, a top-level competitor, and when you watch him working on himself, it's clear how dedicated he is and how hungry he is for success. He's a team leader and the best defender in the world."

Benzema at his best

Madrid's title triumph was also inspired by in-form striker Karim Benzema, whose 21 goals earned his side 16 points in the title race. Modric believes Benzema is now starting to get the recognition he deserves.

"Now, everyone has finally realised what we players have known for a long time," he said. "Benzema is a top striker who is a pleasure to play with. His understanding of the game, movement, disrupting the balance of the opposition defence, is something special. Benzema has always done a great job for the team and I am just glad that he has now experienced a general standing ovation and great satisfaction from people recognising his class."

Madrid unbeaten since LaLiga resumed

Madrid trailed Barcelona at the top of the table when LaLiga was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but a run of 10 wins in a row and a draw with Leganés on the final day saw them finish five points clear. Modric felt there were signs when the team returned to training that they had a good chance of overhauling the Catalans.

"I've already won 16 trophies at Real Madrid, four Champions Leagues, but this LaLiga title made me especially happy," he added. "We definitely should have had more domestic titles because we threw away some championships in a very clumsy way. While we were shut in our homes, we all trained. I was in contact with team-mates and noticed everyone was working with extra motivation. When we finally got back to training together, I felt an even stronger connection between the players, enjoying being together again and in full swing."