x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

I can't play today because ...

Happy to pick up astronomical wages without putting in the hard graft; Luka Modric's behaviour has more than shades of Winston Bogarde about it.

Luka Modric was a reluctant participant in the Tottenham midfield during Sunday’s 5-1 defeat to Manchester City.
Luka Modric was a reluctant participant in the Tottenham midfield during Sunday’s 5-1 defeat to Manchester City.

The National intercepted Luka Modric's absence note to Harry Redknapp before the Tottenham Hotspur manager actually forced his Croatian playmaker to work for his wages this week.

Dear 'Arry

Boss, I really don't fancy playing against Manchester City today. Heartfelt apologies. Sorry and all that, etc.

It's not that I don't want to do it, it's just that I don't really want to be here. It's not you, it's me.

My head is not right. I'm not in the right place at all. Can't someone else do my job for me instead?

Just this once. I know I said that last week. And the week before. But this will be the last time, I promise. Hopefully then that nasty Mr Levy will let me go, and neither of us will have to worry about this problem anymore.

There must be someone who can do my running for me. What about that young lad, Jake something or other? He is not fit to lace my boots, obviously, but then who is at this club these days?

I've outgrown you all. Talking of which, gaffer, I would be really grateful if you stop patting me on the head. Not only does it remind everyone how little I am, but it messes up my hair, so just stop, please.

But I do like you, 'Arry, you know I do. I just wish you had spent some money in this transfer window and got in some proper players. Or at least some players.

Then Spurs would be brilliant again - honest - and with all those extra bodies around, no one would notice when I just slip out the side door.

So what if the club are paying me to play? I know I said, just last year, that I would always be grateful for the chance they had given to me by bringing me to England to play in the Premier League, and that I signed a new long-term contract.

But who really take those sort of platitudes from footballers seriously these days, anyway? And legally-binding contracts - that's a laugh!

Yeah, so I can just about manage to put bread on the table for me and mine thanks to the 60 grand a week the owners give me, but what is that really in this day and age? Piddly, compared to what my new mates in blue up the road at Chelsea get. From the stories I have heard about Stamford Bridge, it seems like paradise. It is just the place for me.

They used to have a player called Winston Bogarde - a top-class centre-half from Holland, you must have heard of him - who they paid an absolute stack of wedge to, and he never had to play, either.

So for four years he basically just put his feet up and played Xbox, or whatever they had to amuse themselves back in those days. By the end of it he had no squad number and was training - as if! - with the youth team.

They reckon he was commuting to "work" from his home in Amsterdam, too. Sounds too good to be true to me.

Although I do like the house you lot bought me, I might sell up here and move back to Croatia and just get Roman Abramovich to fly me over as and when. I could have my own pilot on call.

And all the time, Bogarde had a legally-binding contract which meant the club had to pay him. What a champion! I think he might be my hero.

Now that's the sort of club a player of my standing should be at. One that can sate my ambitions of Champions League football, pour loads of dough into my bank account, and if I can't be bothered playing, I won't have to. Seems like win-win to me.

And anyway, this Manchester City side do look a bit too tasty for my liking.

Imagine if I do play, and end up having to chase that David Silva and Yaya Toure all over White Hart Lane all afternoon. That just will not do at all.

How bad would that look to my new employers? As if I'm going to let that happen. End of.

My agent will be delivering this note to you. If you have any queries on any of the above, you know where I am; half way up the Kings Road on the gravy train marked "See ya".

All my undying love, your true blue,

Luka.

pradley@thenational.ae


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