Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks described it as “special” to play against Real Madrid’s Luka Modric – a role model of his from the Croatian’s time at Spurs.
England international Winks was a young prospect at White Hart Lane when Modric was turning out for the London club, before he left to join Madrid in 2012 – and went on to win three Champions League titles.
And it was in Europe’s premier competition on Tuesday where the two went head-to-head, with Winks impressing before lauding his 32-year-old opponent.
“When I was coming through the academy at a young age, he was someone I always used to watch at White Hart Lane,” said Winks, who is 11 years Modric’s junior.
“I still admire him to this day – he’s a fantastic, world-class player. To play against him was special.
“Him and [Toni] Kroos, they are two world-class players, players I look up to, so when you go on the pitch with them it’s easy to get a little bit daunted by it.
“But I try to take all that away from it, treat it like any normal game and just go for them as I would any other player. Being on the pitch with them, you realise their quality and just how good they are.”
Tottenham and Madrid are tied on seven points at the top of Group H after three games, six points clear of Borussia Dortmund and APOEL.