The time Modric met with Abramovich on a yacht ahead of Chelsea move

22 Aug 2020

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has revealed how close he was to signing for Chelsea in his new autobiography, which will be available to buy from Thursday, August 20.

Ultimately he was made to stay at Tottenham Hotspur for one more year before Real Madrid came in, but Modric has enclosed information about the interesting meeting he had with Chelsea‘s multi-billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, on his yacht.

“Meeting Roman Abramovich on his yacht was all very exciting,” Modric described in his autobiography, with The Guardian publishing an extract from it.

“When the 2010/2011 season ended, I was getting ready for my holidays, however, it didn’t last long as my agents, Vlado Lemi and Davor Urkovi, had expressed that Chelsea wanted to sign me.

“It seemed that I was moving to Stamford Bridge and I was open to the idea of moving to west London, but then things happened at lightning speed.”

Impending meeting with Abramovich

“First, Vanja and I took a private jet from Zadar to Cannes, where my management team were waiting,” Modric explained.

“Then, a van with tinted-glass windows took us to Nice, some 30km away.

“There we were picked up by Roman Abramovich‘s security, who put us on a speedboat and took us to the Chelsea owner’s yacht – it was all very exciting.”

“Twenty or so people, who seemed part of the security detail, met us at the boat.

“It was quick and well organised; just as we made ourselves comfortable on one of the luxury decks, Abramovich showed up.

“He was accompanied by his wife Dasha and their son. I was fascinated by the discreet disappearance of all the security people just as he arrived.

“It was obvious they were well trained – their timing was perfect.

“During our meeting on the Côte d’Azur, he left an impression of a relaxed, somewhat mysterious person.

“He wasn’t beating around the bush and said: ‘We know you are a quality player. I’d like you to sign for Chelsea.'”

Why did you think about moving to Chelsea?

“It was time to move, I wanted to win trophies and league titles and I felt that it wasn’t going to happen at Tottenham,” Modric stated.

“I wanted to move to a more ambitious club.”

The muddle at Tottenham

Modric also recounts the difficult moments he went through in England before joining Real Madrid in 2012.

“Before pre-season, English journalists were asking me if it was true that I wanted to leave,” he noted.

“I was honest and probably naïve when I said that it was time to take a step forward in my career.

“I arrived in London before pre-season training and I went to speak to the chairman, it was tense but there were no harsh words or insults as reported by the media.

“He resented me for publicly announcing that I wanted to leave and repeated that Tottenham had no intention of selling me.

Harry Redknapp made me captain, but my head wasn’t in the game.

“I had a couple of meetings with Daniel Levy throughout that season and he even came to my house to try to convince me to extend my contract with Tottenham, which would have been my second contract renewal with the club.

“I said that I wouldn’t sign anything, to which he replied that if an offer from a big club like Real Madrid came, he would sell me.”

Embittered by Levy

“Despite everything, I always had a good relationship with Levy,” Modric said.

“He was the person that brought me to Tottenham for a club-record fee, which demonstrates how highly he thought of me.

“However, I was a little resentful towards him as he promised to sell me a few times to bigger clubs but later broke that promise.

“For me, promises are one of the most important things.”

The extract finished with a poignant conclusion about Modric‘s stint in England.

“After four amazing years in England, where me and wife Vanja, felt at home, we realised that the English chapter of our life had come to an end,” he stated.

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