Ahead of facing his former Tottenham Hotspur teammate Luka Modric at Wembley in Sunday’s decisive Nations League encounter, Harry Kane has backed the Croatian for the Ballon d’Or, claiming the Real Madrid playmaker deserves all the individual awards that come his way.
Prior to Modric’s transfer to Spain, the pair were part of the same Tottenham squad in the 2011/12 season, which turned out to be the Croatian midfielder’s final season with the north London club.
Six years on, Kane will captain his England side against Croatia on Sunday, while Modric is a leading contender for the Ballon d’Or.
Asked whether Modric is the best player in the world right now, Kane acknowledged his former teammate’s quality, in his press conference on Saturday.
“He’s definitely up there,” Kane said, as reported by Marca.
“I played a little bit with him when I was younger at Spurs. Everyone knows how good a player he is and he has been doing it year after year.
“He deserves all the awards he’s getting, but hopefully he might have a quiet night tomorrow and we can win the game.”
A stellar year personally for Modric has seen him lift the Champions League and reach the World Cup final, as well as receive multiple individual awards – most notably the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball and FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player.
Saturday’s matchup between England and Croatia will be the third time the two nations have played each other in the last four months. Having drawn the first of the Nations League fixtures 0-0, the Three Lions are still looking for the opportunity to avenge their 2-1 World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia.
Speaking about the heartbreaking loss in Russia, Kane said: “With any big game you lose, you always think about what you could have done better.”
England have a good opportunity to dispel these painful memories on Saturday. A victory against Croatia will guarantee Gareth Southgate’s side top sport in Group A4 of the Nations League, providing a pathway into the finals of the competition.
Topping a competitive group consisting of Spain and Croatia would represent tremendous progress for England, who have often been criticised of their inability to perform against the top nations.