We imagine you must be very excited about being signed by the best club in the world.
Yes, I’m very happy to be able to be here in the best and the greatest club in the world, full of spectacular players, with the world’s best coach… I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m very, very happy.
Tell us how the last 24 hours have been for you… quite hectic?
Yes, they were. I was waiting every minute for something to happen… finally it happened last night. When they let me know… I can’t explain how I felt. I’m so very happy to be here.
It’s a new period for Real Madrid, which begins the season as the champions, after a previous campaign full of successes and records. What does it mean to you to come here at such an exciting time?
It means a great deal to me because, as I’ve said, it’s a great club. Last season was excellent, and it’s probably going to be repeated this year; there’s also the Champions title. This is a club that always fights for all possible titles. It makes me proud and it is an honour to be a part of this club. I hope to be able to help the team to win the maximum number of trophies.
José Mourinho was determined to close this deal. What does it mean to have the world's best coach so determined to sign you?
It’s incredible for such a good coach to want me. What’s more, I was willing to wait until the last day in order to be here. I owe him everything and I really want to play for him and for the team.
You’re facing exciting times in your career, but without a doubt, you also leave behind good memories in Tottenham…
Of course. I spent four incredible years there. I would like to thank everyone in the club, the people who helped me in London, in the Tottenham club, I want to thank the fans, because they treated me very well, they gave me a lot of affection and respect… it was a mutual feeling. I want to thank my teammates too. Thanks to them I'm here now, and thanks to Tottenham as a club as well. I only have good memories from over there.
Let’s talk about your history before Tottenham. How did you get started in Dynamo Zagreb and your time in the Bosnia league?
I came to Dynamo Zagreb when I was 15 years old and I spent two years there in the lower categories; when I was 17 I went to Bosnia, loaned to play in the Bosnia league in Zrinjski. I spent a year there and I won the award for best 18-year-old player of the year. After that I went back to Dynamo Zagreb and they sent me on loan again to Zapresic, a club in Croatia, where I was for half a year, and then back to Dynamo, where I spent another three and a half years. I won titles and trophies. It was a good stage.
Your playing attracted everyone’s attention in the 2008 Euro Cup. The second Croatian to win this award after Davor Suker.
I am very proud of that and each time I play for my country, I feel very honoured and very happy. I have had good times playing for the Croatian national team. We had two good tournaments, especially in 2008, although we needed a bit more luck at the end. In the last Euro Cup, I think we did things well and we have a positive future ahead, in which I hope we can continue at that same level or even improve.
Davor Suker has spoken with the Spanish press with a lot of hope about your signing. What does that mean to you?
A great deal. He is one of the best players Croatia has had. He won the Golden Boot and he is very popular in my country. When he says good things about you, you have to feel proud. I’ve talked with him before… he told me only good things about Real Madrid. I’d like to see it. I’ve had a little bit of this new experience today, but there's a lot ahead.
Other clubs wanted you. Why Real Madrid?
There were other clubs, but when I found out that Real Madrid wanted to sign me, I just wanted to come here, because it is the greatest club, with the best coach, great players, and also, I've always wanted to play in Spain. So when they called me, I just wanted to come here and nowhere else.
You must be very excited about starting and defending the championship title but, as always, there are a lot of expectations with the Madrid team. It always has to win and there’s a lot of pressure, a lot of competition for positions… What position do you prefer?
The position I prefer is anchorman, but as I’ve said before, I can play wherever the coach wants. I’m happy to play any position. It’s going to be difficult to win a line-up position, but that’s the reason I’m here. I’m looking ahead to it, I want to start in on this challenge, because it’s the biggest one of my career and I'm really enthusiastic about starting to play for Real Madrid. I know the expectations are high, and I’m prepared for that, and I hope we win many titles together in the coming years.
To finish up. The Champions title is a very big one that the fans are always thinking about. Are you excited about playing for it this year?
Of course. I have always wanted to play in the Champions, and I played once with Tottenham, but now it’s somewhat different and I'm eager for it. I’m very happy to play for Madrid in the Champions League. We have a great team and I hope we can win it this year.