Luka Modric has described Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo as "a phenomenon" after being amazed at the Portuguese's work ethic in training.
The 28-year-old has scored a remarkable 212 goals in 208 games in his four-year stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Modric - who joined the club from Tottenham in the summer of 2012 - believes the former Manchester United man possesses an incredible work ethic.
"I knew he was a beast as a player, but I soon realised he is the number one to watch in training, or to apply himself. He's a phenomenon," he told Sportske Novosti.
Modric endured a trophyless campaign in his first season in the Spanish capital and the Croatia international is determined to avoid the same scenario in 2013-14.
"The crowd always expect a lot from us, as it should be at Real Madrid. I couldn't say what the most important title is, but what I can't think about is another blank year," the 28-year-old added.
"We need to be more compact, to defend well and attack in harmony between the lines. We know the expectations are always growing and one cannot relax for a moment."
Modric also had high praise for new boss Carlo Ancelotti, claiming the Italian brings an air of calm to the dressing room.
"Ancelotti transmits an atmosphere of peace over the team. I heard he was very temperamental as a player, but he's a great guy," he said.
Modric has enjoyed some of his finest form to date in a Madrid shirt in the absence of the injured Xabi Alonso but, while the former Dinamo Zagreb man admits he is relishing the creative freedom afforded him so far this season, he insists the team will benefit from the return of the Spain international.
"I like playing in central midfield as a creator, but my preference is not important. We're waiting for Xabi, we will improve with him," the Croatian continued.
"I want to have more responsibility, to step forward and lead the game. I won't hide, I'm fully matured. I grew a lot last year."