Luka Modric admits Real Madrid face a tough challenge in returning to the top of the European football landscape following a disappointing 2018-19 campaign.
Los Blancos had been the dominant force on the continent prior to last season as they had won the Champions League in four of the previous five years.
However, Real limped out of Europe’s premier club competition last term after being outplayed by Ajax in the first knockout round, while they finished a full 19 points behind bitter rivals Barcelona in the final La Liga standings.
Real’s poor form last season cost both Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari their jobs, with Zinedine Zidane – the man who steered the club to their three most recent Champions League successes – returning to Bernabeu for a second spell in charge in March.
Things have not gone smoothly for Zidane since his return as he has lost four of his 11 games back at the helm, with the former France international expected to oversee a squad overhaul this summer.
Experienced midfielder Modric knows Real have work to do if they are to return to their former glories, while he is also targeting some improved results on the international stage with Croatia given last year’s World Cup finalists have lost three times since suffering defeat to France in Russia.
“At Real Madrid we have the challenge of returning to the old ways, of being the best, and the same can be said of the national team,” Modric told Diario Sport.
The likes of Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba continue to be linked with moves to Real, who are priced at 8.50 to win the Champions League for a record-extending 14th time next season.