Eden Hazard is ready to make his Real Madrid debut this weekend but Zinedine Zidane intends to take extreme caution with his fit-again star signing.

Belgium international Hazard has been cleared to make his first LaLiga appearance against Levante on Saturday, three months after arriving from Chelsea in a deal that reportedly could eventually cost Madrid €140million.

An ill-timed thigh injury on the eve of the new season delayed the 28-year-old's competitive bow, which appears likely to come from the bench at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"We have to go little by little with him," Zidane said. "He's been injured for three weeks. He's back training this week.

"We all want to see him play. We've got seven games in 21 days. We have to go carefully with him.

"We know what the situation is – he's ready and that's the most important thing.

"I'll be the one in charge of giving him minutes here and there and not trying to push him too much, trying to get the best out of him.

"We've got a lot of matches coming up, not just this one tomorrow, and we need to use our heads with Eden Hazard. So let's be calm. We're all ready and so is he."

While star signing Hazard is back in the mix, Madrid will be without Luka Modric for their fourth LaLiga fixture after the midfielder suffered a right leg muscle injury.

The 34-year-old, who played two full matches for Croatia during the international break, could also miss the midweek Champions League trip to Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid have been riddled with fitness issues throughout the early part of the new season but head coach Zidane would not apportion blame for the latest setback.

"Everyone tries to do the best for the players," he said.

"Luka played two games in four days [with Croatia]. That's what happens. We can't think too much about it, we just want Luka to get fit quickly to help us.

"The fact he's injured now and can't play tomorrow, we just have to accept it."

Zidane added: "I think all the clubs have similar problems. The fact we've got a lot of international players as well makes things difficult.

"But we work well on the training field, we've got the best backroom staff, I trust them, so we just hope after the injury to Luka we don't have any more."

Luka Modric has become the latest Real Madrid player to be struck down by injury ahead of an important run of matches.

Tests undertaken on Thursday confirmed an adductor issue for midfielder Modric, who looks highly likely to miss this weekend's LaLiga fixture against Levante.

Zinedine Zidane's men then commence their Champions League campaign away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, before returning to Spain for a tough trip to Sevilla.

Modric, 34, completed two full matches for Croatia during the international break but now joins Isco, Marco Asensio and Brahim Diaz in the treatment room, while James Rodriguez and Eden Hazard have also suffered in recent weeks.

Madrid's statement read: "Following the tests carried out on our player Luka Modric by Real Madrid's medical department, he has been diagnosed with a muscular injury to the adductor in his right leg.

"His recovery will continue to be assessed."

Modric's appearances in Euro 2020 qualifying for Croatia included a goal against Azerbaijan, the Ballon d'Or winner converting a penalty in the 1-1 draw.

EA Sports has revealed the 10 highest-rated players on FIFA 20 ahead of the game's release later this month, with Lionel Messi back on top after Cristiano Ronaldo ranked first last year.

Messi enjoyed another stellar campaign for Barcelona in 2018-19, scoring 36 goals in 34 LaLiga matches, inspiring the club's title defence and run to the Champions League semi-finals.

Ronaldo's first season at Juventus – who will be known as Piemonte Calcio on FIFA 20 – went as smoothly as might have been expected, with the forward finishing as the club's top-scorer as they claimed an eighth successive Scudetto, though that was not enough to retain his crown as FIFA's highest-rated player.

Neither Ronaldo nor Messi were able to win the Champions League, however, with that honour falling to Liverpool, who have two representatives in the top 10.

Find out who they are and which other players join Messi and Ronaldo in the 10 below.

10. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona – 90

Germany international Ter Stegen has developed into one of the globe's most well-rounded goalkeepers after an initially slow start to life at Camp Nou. He is one of three players with a rating of 90, making him the second best keeper on the game.

9. Luka Modric, Real Madrid – 90

Last year's Ballon d'Or winner, Modric's 2019 has not been particularly outstanding, as he has found himself out of the Madrid team a little more due to suspect form. He may be down one rating point from FIFA 19, but he still reaches 90.

8. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – 90

A crucial part of Liverpool's Champions League winning side, Salah has truly established himself as one the world's primary stars over the last couple of years. He was not even in the top 20 in FIFA 19, however.

7. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool – 91

The most important player in Liverpool's Champions League success? Until recently the most expensive defender ever, Van Dijk's influence on the Reds is undeniable. That is reflected in the fact he will be FIFA 20's best defender.

6. Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid – 91

Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world for his quality and consistency, Oblak replaces David de Gea – who had a shaky 2018-19 – as the top-ranked keeper on FIFA.

5. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City – 91

Even though injuries have plagued De Bruyne in recent times, robbing him of a chunk of last season, the Belgium star remains one of most highly regarded players on the game, with the City star beginning 2019-20 in ominous fashion.

4. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid – 91

After helping Chelsea to Europa League success, enjoying a generally fine individual campaign as the Premier League's most creative player with 15 assists, he earned his dream move to Real Madrid. He's yet to feature due to injury, but he'll be hopeful of elevating himself to the next level now.

3. Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain – 92

Perhaps a controversial choice to some, Neymar missed a big part of last season through injury and only won Ligue 1 and the Trophee des Champions, as he was also absent for Brazil's Copa America success. Nevertheless, his skill is undoubtable and he comes in at number three.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Piemonte Calcio (Juventus) – 93

The best-ranked player on FIFA 19, Ronaldo's rating drops one to 93 despite enjoying a solid season in Serie A. Cynics might suggest Juve's exclusivity deal with FIFA rival Pro Evolution Soccer has something to do with it.

1.Lionel Messi, Barcelona – 94

The world's best player comes in at number one with a rating of 94 after he enjoyed another spell-binding season on all fronts, impressing even though Barca failed in the Champions League.

James Rodriguez is set to start a Real Madrid match for the first time since May 2017 as Los Blancos welcome Real Valladolid in LaLiga.

Colombia international James spent the last two seasons out on loan with Bayern Munich, with his Madrid career seemingly over.

However, Bayern opted against triggering their purchase option and James has been integrated back into the Madrid squad with Zinedine Zidane's men having so far failed to offload him.

The playmaker slots into the midfield in place of Luka Modric after the Croatia international was sent off in Madrid's season opener last weekend – a 3-1 win at Celta Vigo.

James' last start for Madrid came in May 2017 and, having seemingly looked destined for the exit, he has a chance to prove himself once again to Zidane and his other detractors at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Gareth Bale found himself in a similar position to James during the close-season and came very close to joining Chinese side Jiangsu Suning, but that fell through and he is making his second successive LaLiga start.

The Wales winger could be in for a frosty reception from the notoriously vocal home support, however.

Madrid-owned Andriy Lunin is on the bench for visitors Valladolid.

Luka Modric says the stamp on Denis Suarez for which he was sent off against Celta Vigo was "an accidental action".

Real Madrid ran out 3-1 winners at Balaidos in their first LaLiga game of the season on Saturday despite Modric's dismissal.

The Ballon d'Or winner was shown the red card for the first time in LaLiga after catching Suarez early in the second half.

Modric was sent off after a VAR review, but after the game he used social media to protest his innocence.

"Sent off for an accidental action," he wrote on Twitter, "In life I would never intentionally make such an action on a player. Totally involuntary!"

However, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos understood the decision by VAR to show Modric the red card.

"Everything used to protect football is good," Ramos said when asked his view on the technology.

"Today the decision was against us. We ended up with one less man, I don't think Modric went in with bad intention but he arrived late and the referee had doubts.

"He spoke to the other officials and reached that decision. VAR's there to help us and if these decisions protect football then they are welcome."

Gareth Bale marked his return to the starting line-up with an impressive assist as Real Madrid survived a red card for Luka Modric to win 3-1 at Celta Vigo in their opening LaLiga fixture of the season.

The Wales star had been left out in the cold for large parts of pre-season following a collapsed move to China, but he was handed a start at Balaidos on Saturday and set up Karim Benzema for a 12th-minute opener.

Looking to capitalise on champions Barcelona's shock loss to Athletic Bilbao on Friday, Madrid added a stunning second goal through Toni Kroos, but only after Brais Mendez had a strike ruled out and Modric was shown a straight red card.

Zinedine Zidane started without any of his new signings, although the quality of his side's third goal - rounded off by substitute Lucas Vazquez - will offer hope of a far brighter 2019-20, despite them conceding late on through Iker Losada.

Madrid had lost back-to-back league matches at the end of last season, but they soon found their rhythm here as Bale turned his man inside out down the left and set up Benzema for a simple finish from four yards.

Celta felt there should have been a free-kick in the build-up and were further aggrieved in the final stages of the first half when Alvaro Odriozola was dispossessed by Denis Suarez and the ball fell to the feet of Iago Aspas, who was adjudged to be marginally offside when teeing up Mendez for a close-range finish.

Celta's hopes of claiming a point were boosted when Modric caught Suarez on the heel and was shown a red card following a VAR review.

Nestor Araujo forced Thibaut Courtois into a point-blank save but Madrid dug deep and scored a second thanks to Kroos' stunning strike from 35 yards, a minute after Benzema's header struck the post.

Vazquez rounded off a flowing move 10 minutes from time by drilling a good finish into the bottom-left corner, although Celta at least got a consolation through Losada's precise strike from a similar spot at the other end.

What does it mean? Familiar faces on show for Madrid

Madrid spent big during the close season in an attempt to bridge the gap to Barcelona, who finished 19 points clear of them last season.

Eden Hazard, Rodrygo Goes and Ferland Mendy all missed out through injury, though, while Eder Militao and Luka Jovic were named on the bench, so it was left to the old guard - not least Bale, Benzema, Kroos and Vazquez - to get the job done.

Bale makes his point

Zidane admitted on the eve of the game he was now "relying" on Bale and the forward did not disappoint on his return to the side. As well as setting up Benzema's goal with an impressive assist, he also helped out in a defensive sense.

Odriozola's blushes spared

Not helped by Courtois' pass, Odriozola was put under pressure and lost possession on the right. The offside flag came to the full-back's rescue that time, but it was generally a nervy display.

What's next?

Madrid welcome Real Valladolid to the Santiago Bernabeu next Saturday, while Celta host Valencia on the same day.

If Real Madrid want to sign Neymar, they may have to part with one of their young stars.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain and a return to Barcelona has been mooted for the world's most expensive footballer.

Madrid, however, are also eyeing Neymar but PSG have identified one Los Blancos Brazilian to replace their wantaway star.

 

TOP STORY – PSG ASK FOR VINICIUS AS PART OF NEYMAR DEAL

According to Spanish media, Paris Saint-Germain have asked for Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior to be included in any deal to send Neymar to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Neymar has been linked to former club Barcelona and fellow LaLiga giants Madrid as he looks to leave Paris.

PSG and Barca are yet to strike a deal, though talks are ongoing. In the meantime, sporting director Leonardo requested Brazilian youngster Vinicius in a potential deal with Madrid but it was swiftly rejected by Los Blancos, reports AS.

Marca, meanwhile, says PSG are keen for Vinicius and Luka Modric to be involved.

 

ROUND-UP 

- New signing Luka Jovic will not be leaving Real Madrid on loan, Bild says. Reports emerged on Wednesday that Jovic had failed to impress Zinedine Zidane following his €60million arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt. However, the Serbia forward is not set for a short-term move away.

- Inter want €80million for former captain and outcast Mauro Icardi, according to Tuttosport. Icardi has been deemed surplus to requirements at Inter following Romelu Lukaku's club-record arrival and the Argentina striker reportedly wants to join Juventus, while Roma and Napoli are believed to be interested.

- According to the Daily Mail, Alexis Sanchez is ready to quit Manchester United amid interest from Serie A. Having struggled to make an impact since his big-money arrival from Arsenal, Sanchez has been linked to AC Milan, Napoli, Juventus and Napoli.

- Staying at Old Trafford and the Mirror claims Victor Lindelof is set for a massive new Manchester United deal. Linked to Barcelona during the off-season, Lindelof is reportedly in line for a three-year extension. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail says United scouts passed on signing Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

- The Washington Post claims Mesut Ozil's agent was in Washington to meet with DC United on Wednesday. The MLS side have identified the Arsenal playmaker as a replacement for Wayne Rooney, who has agreed to join Derby County as a player-coach in January.

- AC Milan will resist offers for Suso and Franck Kessie as they want to keep the pair, reports Sky Sport Italia. Suso has been linked to Lyon, Sevilla and Roma, while Kessie rejected a move to Wolves.

Barcelona are still hopeful of bringing Neymar to Camp Nou, but Real Madrid's interest is rising as they give up on Paul Pogba.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this close season, two years after joining the Ligue 1 champions from Barcelona for a world-record €222million.

While a return to Barca has been mooted, Madrid are also seemingly interested after accepting they are unlikely to land Pogba from Manchester United.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA HOPEFUL OVER NEYMAR, CONVINCED MADRID ARE INTERESTED

Barcelona are still eyeing a move for Neymar, but the LaLiga champions are convinced rivals Real Madrid are also chasing the Brazilian, according to AS.

The report says Barca believe the forward will definitely leave PSG, who do not want to loan or sell Neymar to them because of a fractured relationship between the clubs.

AS report that Barcelona feel PSG are still hoping Madrid will make a late bid for Neymar.

According to Globo Esporte, Real Madrid are ready to use Gareth Bale and Keylor Navas as part of the deal.

Barcelona want Neymar to publicly state his desire to return to the club and they will offer Philippe Coutinho to PSG as part of a deal, according to Sport.

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid's intensified interest in Neymar comes as they accept their chances of signing Pogba from Manchester United are "practically zero", according to AS, after the Premier League club failed to sign a potential replacement for the France international before their window shut.

Coutinho may not have returned to the Premier League, but Barcelona still want to see the playmaker depart. Sport say PSGJuventus and Bayern Munich are the most likely destinations for the former Liverpool star.

Luka Modric was reportedly set to be offered to PSG by Real Madrid as part of a deal for Neymar. However, the Croatia international's camp has told AS the midfielder is not leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Despite giving up on Pogba, Real Madrid still need to strengthen in midfield. Ajax star Donny van de Beek remains the most likely option for Zinedine Zidane, according to AS, but they are waiting amid a potential move for Neymar.

- Manchester United opted against signing a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who left for Inter. The Times report the Premier League club ended talks with Juventus over striker Mario Mandzukic due to the £14m (€15.2m) valuation being deemed too high. Borussia Dortmund are interested in the Croatian, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Mario Balotelli is a step away from joining Flamengo. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, the Italian striker has reached a salary agreement with the Brazilian club, but work is still being done relating to image rights.

Zvonimir Boban has repeated Paolo Maldini's statement that AC Milan will not be able to sign Luka Modric from Real Madrid.

Modric, the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner, has been linked with Inter and Milan in recent months, although he appears set to stay in LaLiga.

Rossoneri technical director Maldini last month said the Croatia midfielder would be "perfect" at San Siro but the deal would not happen.

Following further speculation, Milan's chief football officer Boban reiterated the point.

"Twenty days ago, Paolo Maldini declared that Luka Modric will not be a Milan player," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"But since we continue to talk about it and write about it without any basis, I would like to repeat that the best player in the world of last year will not be our player.

"As far as I can see, he will still be in Madrid. Obviously, it would be great to have him, but this is the only truth."

Images have previously circulated of a young Modric in Milan colours, and Boban added: "Luka is a person and a player of the highest level.

"We thank him for his good wishes for next season and we are pleased that he has liked our club since he was a child, but it is right to clarify things – out of respect for our fans, too."

The transfer window slams shut in England on Thursday and Romelu Lukaku is finally set to get his move.

Linked to Inter and Juventus throughout the off-season, Manchester United striker Lukaku is poised to swap Old Trafford for San Siro in Milan.

Lukaku's exit could trigger United to make a late dash for his replacement.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU TO SWAP UNITED FOR INTER

After months of speculation, Lukaku will swap Manchester United for Serie A side Inter according to widespread reports.

Lukaku landed in Milan in the early hours of Thursday morning ahead of his €75million (£70m) move to Inter.

Inter will reportedly pay a €65m fixed fee and €10m in add-ons, with the deal also including a five per cent cut of any future sale.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Lukaku leaving Old Trafford, United are willing to pay the £81m (€88m) release clause to lure Inaki Williams from Athletic Bilbao, reports El Chiringuito TV. The Red Devils are also continuing to be linked to Juventus' Mario Mandzukic and former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, who is a free agent.

Tottenham are set to complete deadline-day deals for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon, reports the Telegraph. Spurs are hopeful of clinching a transfer for Lo Celso at £55m (€59.7m), while Sessegnon could cost £20m.

- According to Sport, Real Madrid have offered €120m plus Luka Modric for wantaway Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. Barcelona have been linked with their former forward but the LaLiga champions must raise funds before trying to re-sign the Brazil international. Barca could free up space by selling Philippe Coutinho, who has reportedly attracted interest from Premier League trio United, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Arsenal are set for a busy deadline day. The Sun reports the Gunners could land Chelsea defender David Luiz in a £12m deal, while Unai Emery's side have agreed a Scottish transfer record fee of £25m for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, according to the BBC.

- Tottenham have agreed to sign Juventus star Paulo Dybala but the player's image rights are holding up the deal, says the Independent. Dybala has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain after turning down a move to Manchester United.

- Sportitalia says Wolves have agreed a £23m (€25m) fee to sign AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who reportedly wants a wage increase. Wolves have already signed Patrick Cutrone from Milan.

- According to Sky Sports, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has handed in a transfer request as Everton look to sign the former Manchester United forward.

Mario Balotelli is on the verge of joining Brazilian side Flamengo until December 2021. That is according to La Gazzetta dello Sport and Sky Sport Italia. Balotelli is a free agent following his Marseille exit.

Paolo Maldini insists AC Milan did not make an offer for Luka Modric this close season, although he admits the Real Madrid man would be "perfect" at San Siro.

Modric is expected to stay at Madrid, where he has been since 2012, but the 33-year-old was linked with moves to Inter last year and rivals Milan in recent months.

Maldini, acknowleding the midfielder's blend of experience and talent, says there was never any negotiation for the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner.

"We never negotiated for Modric, but we've said to [coach Marco] Giampaolo this club are looking for good young players and some experienced ones," Rossoneri technical director Maldini told a news conference.

"The growth of young players takes place through the presence of experienced players. Modric would be perfect here, but we've never negotiated for him."

Maldini was speaking alongside Rade Krunic and Theo Hernandez as they were presented as Milan players on Friday.

Hernandez, a left-back just as Maldini was in his playing days, was delighted to have joined Milan.

"It is a real honour to be sitting next to [Maldini]," Hernandez said. "He will always be the best full-back in the world.

"We met in Ibiza, where he had some very beautiful and sincere words for me. Since then, I have had the desire to join Milan. I trained hard to succeed and in the end I did it."

Where will Neymar be playing in 2019-20? It is the €222million question.

After joining Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar wants to leave the Ligue 1 champions.

Only a select few of Europe's elite can afford the Brazil superstar. Could a sensational move to Turin be on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SR TO TALK TO JUVE

Neymar could team up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Serie A champions Juventus.

That is according to Rai Sport following a report claiming Neymar's father will meet Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici in Turin.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain following his world-record €222m transfer in 2017 and the Brazil international has been linked with a return to Barcelona and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- The future of Luka Modric is once again in the spotlight, but the Real Madrid star is reluctant to leave, according to Marca amid interest from AC Milan. The speculation comes as the Rossoneri also look to bolster their defence. Gianluca Di Marzio says Milan are keen on signing €40m-rated Merih Demiral from Juventus, while Tuttosport reports the Italian giants have turned to Manchester United's Eric Bailly after being put off by Liverpool's valuation of Dejan Lovren.

- With Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben no longer around, Bayern Munich are desperate to reinforce their wide areas but the Independent claims the Bundesliga champions have given up on signing Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea.

- Lyon captain Nabil Fekir is attracting a lot of interest from LaLiga and Valencia are now in pole position to sign the France international, according to Le10Sport. Diario Sport says Barcelona's Rafinha Alcantara is also hopeful of joining Valencia.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are ready to sell Arsenal and Tottenham target Malcom for £55m (€60.9m). Everton and Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested in Malcom, who only arrived from Bordeaux in 2018-19.

- CalcioMercato claims Premier League giants Manchester United have entered the race to sign Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo. The 20-year-old has reportedly been involved in a tug-of-war between Tottenham and Juventus.

Inter are edging closer to Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, who sat out Wednesday's friendly win over Leeds United in Australia. However, Corriere dello Sport also says Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani is an alternative for the Serie A side.

Eden Hazard is happy to let captain Sergio Ramos carry on taking penalties at Real Madrid and admitted he could not convince Luka Modric to give him his number 10 shirt.

Belgium international Hazard completed his move to Los Blancos last week after seven years at Chelsea, where he earned a reputation as one of the most reliable penalty-takers around.

However, centre-back Ramos has also proven adept from 12 yards since replacing Cristiano Ronaldo as Madrid's designated spot-kick taker and Hazard is happy for his new skipper to continue in that role.

"I think the captain takes a really good penalty," Hazard said at his unveiling on Thursday.

"I don't think he's going to ask me to take them! I think he'll keep taking penalties and he'll keep scoring no doubt."

Hazard has made a request of his own, though, as he revealed he had already attempted to acquire the number 10 shirt.

Ballon d'Or winner Modric is the owner of that jersey and Hazard revealed he had used the Croatian's international team-mate Mateo Kovacic, who was on loan at Chelsea last season from Madrid, in a bid to obtain the shirt.

However, at his presentation, Hazard only had his name on the back of a numberless shirt and he conceded his efforts to sway Modric had been futile.

"I've been in contact with Modric via Kovacic and I asked him if I could have the number 10 and he said no," Hazard added.

"[It was] a bit of a joke we had. I'll have to find a number but I don't think the number is the most important thing.

"I think the most important thing is to wear the Real Madrid shirt and defend this club."

Eden Hazard completed his much-anticipated move from Chelsea to Real Madrid on Friday, the 13-time European champions agreeing to pay a fee that could rise to €140million.

In doing so, Hazard became the latest Premier League superstar to be drawn to the bright lights of LaLiga.

Over the past decade, Barcelona and Madrid have repeatedly cherry-picked the English top flight's hottest talent – a policy that has helped deliver six Champions League titles between the two great rivals in the 10 seasons from 2009-10.

Will Hazard's arrival return Madrid to the head of European club football's top table? He has a lot to live up to if he is to fill the shoes of the first man on our list of players to recently swap the Premier League for LaLiga.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United to Real Madrid, €94m, July 2009

Arguably the greatest ever player to have represented the mighty Madrid. The Portuguese arrived from United and, in an incessant personal battle with Barca icon Lionel Messi, set new standards for goalscoring feats. In all, Ronaldo rattled in a record 450 for Los Blancos and delivered two LaLiga crowns as well as a remarkable four Champions Leagues over a five-year period of dominance. Now 34, he left for Juventus in a €112m switch last July.

Luka Modric, Tottenham to Real Madrid, €35m, August 2012

Alongside Toni Kroos in midfield, the heartbeat of the Madrid side that left the rest of Europe trailing in their wake. A glorious technician with Spurs, Modric blossomed even further at the Santiago Bernabeu into a player capable of controlling the tempo of games on the grandest stage. His individual brilliance was recognised last year as he broke the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly on the Ballon d'Or, having inspired Croatia to the World Cup final.

Gareth Bale, Tottenham to Real Madrid, €101m, September 2013

An immediate hit at the Bernabeu, Bale helped to secure the club's 10th European Cup at the end of his first season, scoring the crucial second goal against rivals Atletico Madrid. He has made a habit of delivering in major finals – a stunning solo effort against Barca in the 2014 Copa del Rey and a frankly ridiculous overhead bicycle kick against Liverpool to help win the 2018 Champions League ought to have endeared him to Madrid fans forever. But, amid injuries and a loss of form, it has gone slightly sour for Bale and rumours abound he is keen to leave the Spanish capital.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool to Barcelona, €81m, July 2014

Having almost earned the Reds a first league crown since 1990 in a devastating partnership with Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14, Suarez made the move to Camp Nou to link up with Messi and Neymar as part of the fabled 'MSN' strikeforce. Together, the trio inspired Barca to the treble at the end of that first season – just three of the 11 major honours picked up by Suarez in the five seasons since he left Liverpool behind.

Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool to Barcelona, €130m, January 2018

It is fair to say Barca will probably feel they are yet to see value for their significant outlay on another South American star taken from Anfield. Coutinho has struggled to find his feet at Camp Nou thus far, starting just 22 league games in his first full season with the Blaugrana. To make matters worse, he was essentially anonymous over two legs against his old club in last month's Champions League semi-final, hauled off on the hour in both matches.

Who's next?

With Madrid and Barca proving attractive prospects for any footballer with lofty ambitions, it seems certain that Hazard will not be the last Premier League superstar to join one of the colossal Clasico clubs. Paul Pogba is repeatedly linked with a move to LaLiga's big two, while Christian Eriksen has already indicated he is ready to leave Spurs and find a new challenge – Madrid being widely reported as his likely destination. United goalkeeper David de Gea is never far away from speculation about his future, while Sadio Mane and Harry Kane have previously been suggested as targets for Madrid, as has Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette for Barca.

Luka Modric will continue at Real Madrid next season ahead of an expected overhaul, according to former forward Predrag Mijatovic.

Madrid – eliminated in the Champions League last 16 – are set to finish third in LaLiga following their shock 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano.

Modric endured a poor performance in the away defeat amid ongoing transfer links, with Paul Pogba and Eden Hazard set to headline a wave of new signings.

Mijatovic – who won the 1997 LaLiga and the 1998 Champions League during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu – said the 33-year-old Modric will remain in the Spanish capital, having previously attracted interest from Inter.

"He will continue," Mijatovic told El Larguero. "I have spoken with him and it was one of the worst games he has played. 

"He is a committed chap and the problem won't be Modric. It won't be easy to recover what he had with the players that are going to arrive.

"The market has changed. All of the club know they need to sign and the prices increase. He's a professional and he is happy. He suffers like everyone."

Manchester United's Pogba and Chelsea star Hazard are reportedly on track to join Madrid, while Eintracht Frankfurt forward Luka Jovic is also believed to be on the club's radar.

There are doubts, however, over Gareth Bale's future under Zinedine Zidane in Madrid as well as veteran full-back Marcelo and Isco.

"Zidane was very clear during his first spell. He didn't like the game or the situation and now will be worried as to what to do in the coming season, finding a solution for Bale and what teams he wants won't be easy," Mijatovic said.

"It won't be easy because some of these players have given so much joy. Zidane has a big job to motivate them again. I'm not optimistic because to make a new team is not easy."

On Marcelo, Mijatovic added: "He has had a complicated season. They are lots of doubts about him. He is a player who can recover his form and it's a difficult job. You have to give him love. Zidane has a lot of things to do this summer with important players."

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