Ex-Barcelona scout Bojan Krkic Sr. has revealed that the Blaugrana turned down the chance to sign Luka Modric in 2008, as they feared thata it could affect the progression of Xavi and Iniesta.
Modric went on to sign for Tottenham Hotspur instead. Krkic recently told Carrusel Deportivo:
"Before Luka Modric signed with Tottenham, Zvonimir Boban called me and said 'Listen, I have a player for you'. He sent me a video of Modric and assured me he was a top player. We had a meeting with Modric and his wife in Barcelona."
"He came with desire, but at that time, there were already Iniesta & Xavi, and Barca didn't want to cut their progression. Then Modric signed with Tottenham."
Xavi and Iniesta were the heartbeats of Barca's midfield during that period, and the duo went on to become legendary figures in world football. Modric, meanwhile, joined Real Madrid in 2012 and has since established himself as one of the greatest midfielders in the club's history.
He has made 492 appearances across competitions for Los Blancos, scoring 37 goals and providing 77 assists. The Croat has won five UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid and also won the Ballon d'Or award in 2018.
When Barcelona youngster Alejandro Balde hailed Luka Modric
Alejandro Balde is one of the finest youngsters at Barcelona currently. The full-back has broken into the first team and has become a mainstay in Xavi's side.
Balde hailed Modric for the way he has been able to keep up his game despite being in his late 30s (via GQ):
"The rivals that have impacted me the most have been (Jamal) Musiala in the World Cup and (Joshua) Kimmich, from Bayern Munich. I was also very surprised by Luka Modric, who is 37 years old and looks like he is 20. He is crazy how he plays.”
Real Madrid share a great rivalry with Barca at club level. However, Balde's words for one of Los Blancos' main players show the respect Modric has been able to generate among his peers with his consistent level over the years.