Football

Ramos: Modric deserves to win Best Player award

Spain's Sergio Ramos believes that his Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric deserves to beat Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Fifa Best Men's Player Award.

Ronaldo, who left Real for Juventus in July, won the award for the past two years, but Modric is looking a serious threat after winning the World Cup's Golden Ball and the Uefa Player of the Year award this year.

"Maybe there are players with more marketing, with a bigger name," Ramos said. "But Modric deserves that award."

It was taken by many as a shot at Ronaldo, who along with Mohamed Salah, completes the three-man list.

Ramos will be facing Modric when Spain and Croatia meet in a League A, Group 4 clash in the Uefa Nations League in Elche tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Spain midfielder Saul Niguez, who scored in their 2-1 win over England on Saturday, is relishing his meeting with Modric.

Said the Atletico Madrid player: "We all know (Ivan) Rakitic and Modric. Croatia have a great midfield and it'll be very difficult to beat them."

Niguez, 23, was an unused squad member as La Roja crashed out of the last 16 of World Cup under interim coach Fernando Hierro.

But he found himself in the starting line-up against England, in Luis Enrique's first match in charge.

"Luis Enrique asks me to be the player I am, contributing to the team with my runs into the box, nothing out of the ordinary," he said.

"I've received many displays of affection. Tuesday will also be special because I'll be playing at home in Elche."

Football