Rafael van der Vaart understands Luka Modric's wish to join Real Madrid
• 'Real are the biggest team in the world' – Van der Vaart • Modric refuses to join Tottenham on pre-season tour to USA
Rafael van der Vaart spent two years at Real Madrid before joining Tottenham in 2010. Photograph: Arturo Rodriguez/AP
Rafael van der Vaart has expressed sympathy with Luka Modric over the midfielder's apparent desire to join Real Madrid.
The Croatia international has expressed a wish to leave Tottenham Hotspur and is heavily tipped to join the La Liga champions. Modric was prevented from leaving the club last summer despite handing in a transfer request but a move 12 months on appears likely, even more so after he refused to join his team-mates for their pre-season tour of the USA.
Van der Vaart, who spent two years at Real before joining Spurs in 2010, said: "You can't compare Real Madrid with other teams because they are the biggest team in the world. It was really an honour that I played there and I'm still really thankful. I think every player wants to play there."
Van der Vaart has spoken to Modric about Real's interest in the 26-year-old. He told the Spanish newspaper AS: "I went to Luka's house and spoke to him after training. I told him what happened to me when I wanted to sign for Real [from Hamburg].
"I've been one of the closest people to Modric in the dressing room and I feel for him. It is a difficult situation. The chairman [Daniel Levy] is angry but Luka is very upset with what is happening. I think everything will be fixed in three or four days."