Modric flattered by Barcelona links: 'I love to hear things like that'

The Tottenham playmaker says the speculation will motivate him even further to perform against Spain on Monday, as he eyes up a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has admitted that he "loves" to hear links with Barcelona surfacing in the press, speaking ahead of his country's crunch Euro 2012 encounter with Spain in Group C.

Earlier on Saturday, Spain assistant coach Paco Jimenez revealed the Catalans are keeping an eye on the 26-year-old, who has been tipped by many sections of the media to end his four-year association with Tottenham this summer.

When quizzed on the rumours, Modric replied: "Of course, I love to hear things like that, but it just motivates me more to play better and show that I can be even more dangerous.

"This is the match in which all of us can prove ourselves. We are convinced that we can reach the quarter finals."

Moving onto Monday's match, Modric is under no illusions as to how much of the ball Spain will see at the PGE Arena in Gdansk, but remains hopeful his team-mates can counter their opponents' threat and create chances for the "fantastic" Mario Mandzukic to finish off.
6/1 Luka Modric is 6/1 to score anytime against Spain with Paddy Power

"It is a big challenge for all of us to play a team like Spain," he added. "Of course, they'll control possession, and for how long, that probably depends on them.

"However, we have to posture solid in the middle, try to block their play and push them as far from our goal as possible."

"As I said before, I'm convinced that there will be periods where we'll be on top," the playmaker continued. That means that we'll have some chances, and we'll have to take one of them.

"Mario [Mandzukic] is fantastic. He is fast, explosive; the player which can score even from the most difficult situations. But it is important to provide him chances to score."

Kick-off between the two Group C rivals is scheduled for 20:45CET.