Luka Modric was close to becoming a Rangers player – if only the Scottish giants could afford the comparative pittance it would have taken to sign him.
That’s according to Ibrox legend Ally McCoist, who once urged his superiors to splash some cash to land the midfield teacher when he was still playing in Croatia.
The 36-year-old Modric has shown how he is still key to his side, having starred against Paris Saint-Germain and then Chelsea in the Champions League this season.
The former Tottenham man has proven he’s still got it despite turning 37 later this year and in March, after the PSG last 16 game, left McCoist thinking about ‘what might have been’, as he told the story about his possible move to Glasgow.
“He’s some footballer, Modric,” McCoist said on the talkSPORT Breakfast.
“Dinamo Zagreb were playing Hajduk Split and Walter [Smith] sent me over to watch the game looking at the big boy [Vedran] Corluka.
“So I went over to watch the game, Corluka was fine, I came back and Walter asked me how it all went.
“I said: ‘Yeah it’s a good team and Corluka is a good player, you’d take him all day’.
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“But I also said: ‘I tell you right now, I don’t know how much money we’ve got in the bank account but there was a wee fella playing in the middle of the park, Luka Modric’.
“He just looked light years ahead of everyone else on the pitch.
“I said: ‘Go and see him, and if you can get him gaffer he is unbelievable, out of this world’.”
Smith picked up the phone but it put it down almost instantly because he was out of reach in terms of price.
“I said, ‘see how much money we’ve got’, and I think we could have got him at that time for £3.5million or something.
“But we didn’t have the money.”
The Scottish giants also failed to sign Corluka, who later joined Man City – before their multi-million Abu Dhabi takeover – while Modric moved to Spurs in a £16million deal.
So, Modric’s early career might have been very different had Ally got his way, but there’s no doubt he still would have gone to the very top.
He’d probably still be exactly where he is now, still pulling the strings at Real Madrid and helping the Spanish giants take a step closer to a 14th European Cup – and what would be the fifth of his career, if they go all the way .
Watching him playing for Real in the quarter-final win against Chelsea where Modric set up Rodrygo beautifully to take the game to extra-time, he said: “We may have just seen the pass of the decade,” the talkSPORT Breakfast host said.
“Modric is magical. What a pass.”
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism