Modric warns James, Morata: 'It's all downhill after Real Madrid'

Luka Modric has a word of warning for any Real Madrid players who are considering a transfer away from the club.

Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez and Luka Modric celebrate a Real Madrid goal.   -  Getty Images

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has warned team-mates Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez that leaving the club will be a step down in their careers.

Colombia star James has been heavily linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu after he was left out of the Champions League final squad, with Manchester United and Inter among the reported suitors.

Morata, meanwhile, is said to be a target for United and Chelsea, with a move to the Premier League champion looking more likely given that Jose Mourinho's side have reached an agreement with Everton to sign Romelu Lukaku.

Although Modric would understand team-mates wanting to leave for more regular first-team football, he believes that Madrid remain the pinnacle of any player's career.

"It's certainly not an easy decision to leave Madrid," he told Marca. "When you leave here, nothing is the same. You're at the best club in the world, that's for sure, and from there you can only go down.

"Everyone will have their reasons. If I continue like this, I will do everything possible to stay, but things in football change fast."

Modric enjoyed one of his best seasons in the Spanish capital in 2016-17, winning La Liga and the Champions League, and he has credited head coach Zinedine Zidane for keeping the players fit for the crucial matches.

"He knew how to get the most out of every player and that helped us to reach the end of the season in top form," he said.

"This was different to years gone by, where we sometimes got a little tired at the end. Now, with all the rotations...

"Any player who came on did well and helped the team. It was easier to do what Zidane wanted. These were the keys to winning the double."

Madrid became the first team to win the modern Champions League back-to-back when it beat Juventus 4-1 in the final in Cardiff, but Modric would not say the achievement was made sweeter by the fact Barcelona and Lionel Messi have not managed the same success.

"We're only focused on ourselves," he said. "We don't look at other clubs. We want to do things our way, the best that we can, and not worry about everything. It's our way of thinking, our politics."

The Croatia international was questioned by a court in his homeland last month amid accusations of perjury in a case involving former Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamic.

The 31-year-old could face a prison sentence if charged and found guilty but he insists that he has done nothing wrong.

"It's an unpleasant and complicated situation but I have a clear conscience. Now we have to wait for this to end quickly and nothing else," he said.

"I can't talk more about it, it's not nice, it's complicated, it's something that happened many years ago and, for me, what's going around is very tough. But I've endured many things in my life and I'm sure I will endure this."

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