Real Madrid have to demonstrate that they are “the best team in the world” when they take on Manchester City for a place in the Champions League final, so says Luka Modric.
The meeting between the sides in Manchester last week was only the second semi-final first leg in Champions League history to see seven goals scored, after Liverpool beat Roma 5-2 in 2017-18.
Premier League leaders City hold a slender, 4-3 advantage heading to the Santiago Bernabeu and have progressed in nine of the previous 10 Champions League two-legged knockout ties when they have won the first leg.
Madrid have been eliminated in all five previous semi-finals in the competition when they have lost the first leg, but Los Blancos have progressed from two of their last three knockout ties when losing the first leg, including their remarkable comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in March.
Modric played a key role in that victory and in their quarter-final revival against Chelsea, and the mercurial 36-year-old was in bullish mood in Tuesday’s pre-match news conference.
“The atmosphere in the locker room is very good. We are really looking forward to it. We know what we have to do, it is the most important game of the season,” said Modric, who celebrated winning a third LaLiga title of his career on Saturday when Madrid beat Espanyol to clinch their 35th domestic crown.
“We are very confident that we will come back. We know that in the first leg we did not play our best game, but we still scored three goals. We have to do better, and I am sure of it.”
Modric believes that Madrid’s prestigious history can play its part in pushing Carlo Ancelotti’s team on to reaching the final for the first time since 2018.
He said: “What do we have? Quality, a lot of character. The history of this club also plays a part. The club, which is the one with the most titles in the Champions League .
“All this influences a lot. We never give up. The club has taught us this since we got here. We have to show that we are Real Madrid, the best team in the world.”
Modric played a pivotal role in Madrid winning three successive Champions League titles between 2015-16 and 2017-18, while he also helped win ‘La Decima’ during Ancelotti’s first spell in 2013-14.
“I’m sure it’s important. It’s nice to remember that we’ve already won four Champions Leagues, some with a chance of reaching our fifth final,” Modric said when asked if that experience was crucial against City, who have only reached one final, losing last season to Chelsea, before scoffing at the suggestion Madrid had been lucky in the past.
“To be here and win this many Champions Leagues, it’s not just luck. It makes us laugh a little, although everyone can say what they want.
“We are focused on what we do and we don’t care what they say outside. To get to this point year after year, beating great rivals and winning titles, you have to have more than luck: character, personality, faith. This is what makes us win.”