Real Madrid beat Napoli 3-1
Modric nicknamed 'Lucky Luka'
Since Luka Modric signed for Real Madrid in 2012, the club hasn’t gone a year without winning a trophy.
Eight major titles in three-and-a-half seasons – including the Spanish Super Cup less than 36 hours after his transfer from Tottenham Hotspur – has seen the diminutive Croatian earn the nickname ‘Lucky Luka.’
Wednesday’s 3-1 first-leg win over Napoli in the Champions League puts Real Madrid in pole position to qualify for the quarterfinals, although a tough return fixture at the intimidating San Paolo stadium awaits.
Modric has won two Champions League crowns in his first four years at Real and is now targeting a third, but has warned his teammates there is still plenty to do between now and the final in June.
“Obviously that is our aim, that is our goal but we are not thinking that far,” Modric told CNN. “We have to go game by game and be focused on the next match, then we’ll see how far we will go.
“But of course we would like to be in Cardiff (the venue for the final) and hopefully we can achieve it. But we don’t want to look that far, we have to be concentrated on the next game.
“It’s a good advantage but it’s far from over. We have to be focused and we have to play a great game like we did last night and hopefully we will be in the quarterfinal.”
Just 24 hours earlier, Real’s perennial rival Barcelona suffered a humiliating Valentine’s Day defeat in the City of Love.
But Modric says the Catalans’ 4-0 hammering at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain didn’t provide he and his teammates with any additional motivation ahead of their own round of 16 clash.
“No, no, no. We watched the game but that’s another game, we were focused on ours,” Modric said. “It was very important for us to start well (against Napoli).
“I think we entered the game extremely well and after Napoli scored that unfortunate goal, we never stopped believing, we kept fighting as a team. We played really well offensively and, mainly, defensively.
“Against a team like Napoli that are very strong up front, we had to be very good defensively as well. Overall we deserved to win and maybe with an even bigger goal difference, but we are happy with the result.”
Despite consistent success since swapping north London for Spain, the domestic La Liga title, however, remains the one major trophy Modric is yet to get his hands on.
But with Real one point clear of Barcelona at the top of the table with two games in hand, 2016-17 could be the season the 31-year-old completes a clean sweep of career titles.
“The mood is great,” Modric said, live from Real’s Valdebebas training complex. “We just finished our recovery session and we are in a good mood.”
Zinedine Zidane’s side has been in imperious form this season, losing just once in 20 league games.
And with Gareth Bale still to return from injury and lucky charm Luka Modric in the team, you wouldn’t bet against them claiming a first league crown since 2012.