Luka Modric wants to stay at Real Madrid and says his future will not be dependent on new signings amid interest in Jude Bellingham.
Modric, who has won five Champions League trophies and three Spanish league titles since joining Real from Tottenham 11 years ago, signed a one-year deal with the Spanish champions at the end of last season.
The 37-year-old central midfielder has not yet held talks with Real over extending his stay but remains calm in regards to his future and says he will give his maximum for the remainder of the season to convince the club’s decision makers.
“I’d like to deserve to stay here on my own merit not just as a freebie,” Modric said ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg at Liverpool.
“No-one has given me anything for free in my career and I don’t want that to happen now either. If the club think I deserve a contract then I’d love to stay, but only on merit. Not just based on what I have done here or my past or the history of what I have achieved.
“We don’t have these conversations mid-season. I am very relaxed about it.
“This is the club of my life and whatever happens between now and the end of the season, no-one can take that away or break that feeling and ruin that relationship.”
How will Bellingham chase affect Modric’s future?
Modric has been a key cog in Real’s most successful midfield this century along with Casemiro and Toni Kroos, but the Spanish giants have already begun preparing for life beyond the legendary trio.
Casemiro, 30, was sold to Manchester United in the summer for £70m and replaced by 23-year-old midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco for around £71m. They had already signed another young French midfielder in Eduardo Camavinga, 20, a year earlier from Rennes for £34.4m.
Now Real have turned their attention to potential replacements for Modric and Kroos, both of whom are out of contract at the end of this season. Unlike Modric, Kroos is less certain of his plans and is considering retirement.
England and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham is at the top Real’s wishlist in terms of a replacement.
Spanish publication Marca has reported that Modric will only be offered a new contract if Kroos decides to leave the club or they fail to sign Bellingham.
Asked if new signings will impact Real’s decision to offer him a new deal, Modric added: “I think my case is separate to that, I don’t think it has anything to do with it really.”
Liverpool favourites to sign Bellingham
Bellingham is the most sought after teenager in world football and Sky in Germany understands that Liverpool are frontrunners for his signature ahead of Real, with manager Jurgen Klopp “pushing hard” for a deal.
Dortmund will be demanding up to £130m for for Bellingham, who does not have a release clause in his contract.
Reports in Spain suggest Real Madrid are willing to spend more than £100m to sign Bellingham, having largely reduced their spending in recent transfer windows to balance their finances.