Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric has described Nicolo Zaniolo as one of his favourite footballers amid speculation linking Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool with the Roma talisman, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport.
This must feel like something of a ‘pinch me’ moment for an Italian international with the world at his feet.
Modric, after all, is one of the finest midfielders of the 21st century, a four-time Champions League winner who broke the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly to claim the Ballon D’Or in 2018.
It’s fair to say, then, that he knows a thing or two about how to make it at the very top of the world game.
And Zaniolo, a fearsome 20-year-old talent who could follow in Modric’s footsteps with a move to Tottenham (Leggo), will be thrilled to be singled out by a man who mentions him in the same breath as Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero.
“Favorite players? I’ve always liked stylish players; Totti, Del Piero, (Andrea) Pirlo. Now, there are young people who promise a lot, above all Zaniolo,” Modrid says.
“A pure talent.”
According to Il Sussidario, Roma may be forced to cash in on the £53 million-rated Zaniolo if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
The Giallorossi are currently fifth, three points adrift of Atalanta.
And while Liverpool might be set to keep their powder dry this summer, there is a realistic chance that Zaniolo could still end up at Anfield.
Il Sussidario reports that the Premier League leaders could offer Dejan Lovren in exchange with a swap deal likely to reduce the Italian’s price-tag considerably.