Mateo Kovacic has heaped praise on Luka Modric ahead of Chelsea's crunch UEFA Champions League clash on Tuesday, revealing that the Real Madrid talisman was his childhood idol.
The Blues travel to Santiago Bernabeu 3-1 down from the first leg, where Karim Benzema scored a hat trick. Although the Frenchman stole the headlines, Modric also impressed.
Speaking during Chelsea's pre-match press conference, Kovacic said "It is quite difficult to stop [Modric]. He is an amazing player. I admired him when I was a child when he played for my favourite club, Dinamo Zagreb."
The Chelsea midfielder went on to highlight how Modric has been consistently brilliant throughout the span of his incredible career.
"He has always been as good as he is now. As long as I've known him he has remained on the same level, which is amazing. He loves football so much. He is a professional. If he keeps going like this, I see him playing for [another] three or four years," he added.
"It was nice and difficult to play against him, but it is never nice when you are losing. I always prefer to have him on my team. This moment we are against each other, and we are ready to show our best tomorrow to try to go through."
Kovacic went on to speak about the belief that he and his Chelsea teammates have ahead of the game against Los Blancos.
"Of course we have our chances [to advance] and we are motivated to show our best tomorrow," added Kovacic.
"We did not have our best game and the result is not good and the result is not good in the last game. There is hope and we are motivated to show our best. It will be a quality game and we are looking forward to it."