Luka Modric has claimed that is his intention to end his playing career with Real Madrid.
The Croatian has brought to an end a remarkable 2018 by being crowned Sportsman of the Year in his home country.
The accolade adds to his titles as Best FIFA Footballer of the year and Ballon d’Or winner.
The 33-year-old captained his nation throughout an incredible run that saw them reach a first World Cup final in Russia over the summer, but was linked with a move away from Spain following the tournament.
Speaking at the awards ceremony for his latest award in Zagreb, the playmaker refuted any such claims.
He said: “My personal goal and big wish is to finish career in Real Madrid, that would be the ideal scenario.
“But to achieve that, I have to stay capable of playing at the top, at the highest level. That is not going to be easy.”
Modric also referenced the difficult start his side has made to the La Liga season, suggesting that the club were aware of the need to improve their results.
He said: “Most important thing for Real this year is to lift our level of play because we entered complicated period after all big successes we achieved.”
The Spanish giants currently lie fourth in the table, eight points behind league leaders Barcelona, but have a game in hand over their title rivals.
Modric also addressed suggestions that he should have called time on his international career following his heroics over the summer.
The midfielder scored twice and laid on an assist as his country made it to the last two of the tournament, eventually being beaten 4-2 by France in a pulsating final.
According to the man himself, however, retirement is far from a priority.
Committing his future to Croatia, he said: “Many people said it would have been best possible stage to retire from international football after World cup final, but my heart decided to stay and keep playing. And I will continue to play as long as they will need me.”
Modric has amassed 118 caps for his nation, scoring 14 goals.