Luka Modric has recounted a secret meeting with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich on his private yacht.
Abramovich was keen to sign Modric from Tottenham and met with the midfielder in an attempt to persuade him to join.
In an extract from his autobiography, published by the Guardian, Modric revealed: "With the 2010-11 Premier League season over, I was ready for my summer vacation.
"But it didn’t last long, as my agents – Vlado Lemić and Davor Ćurković – passed on Chelsea’s wish to sign me.
"I was open to the idea of moving, but then things happened at lightning speed. First, Vanja and I took a private jet from Zadar to Cannes, where my management team were waiting."
Modric was then driven from Cannes to Nice in a van with tinted windows and taken to Abramovich's yacht on a speedboat by his security team.
"It was all very exciting," he added. "Twenty or so people, who seemed part of the security detail, met us at the boat. It was quick and well organised; just as we made ourselves comfortable on one of the luxury decks, Abramovich showed up.
"He was accompanied by his wife Dasha and their son. I was fascinated by the discreet disappearance of all the security people just as he arrived. It was obvious they were well trained – their timing was perfect.
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"He wasn’t beating around the bush and said: 'We know you are a quality player. I’d like you to sign for Chelsea.' I had come to his yacht to talk, so it was evident I wished the same."
However, there were concerns that Spurs chief Daniel Levy could make negotiations difficult, with Abramovich asking: "'Do you think Tottenham will resist your transfer? Are they going to put up a fight?'"
"'I think the negotiations are going to be tough,'" Modric replied, knowing that the two sides were "not on good terms".
Finishing the story, Modric recalls: "Both Vanja and I were impressed by the meeting, but deep inside I knew Tottenham’s chairman Daniel Levy wouldn’t want to hear about it."
Levy did indeed dig his heels in and Modric stayed at Spurs for one more season before making a £30m move to Real Madrid.
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