Real Madrid CF may have advanced to the knockout rounds as the second-placed team in UEFA Champions League Group D, yet Luka Modrić considers the Merengues favourites for the title.
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Following his UEFA.com Player Rater-winning performance in the 4-1 home victory against AFC Ajax, Real Madrid CF midfielder Luka Modrić stated his belief that the Liga side are favourites to win the UEFA Champions League. Meanwhile, Kaká expressed his delight at becoming the tournament's top-scoring Brazilian, while visiting defender Daley Blind spoke about Ajax's new goal to reach the UEFA Europa League final on home soil.
Luka Modrić, Madrid midfielder
I think the game was an interesting one for the neutral spectator. We showed how serious we are; we already qualified but didn't want any surprises in this game. We played a great match, especially in the first half which we dominated. We are happy with our performance. We had some problems as Ajax like to play, they are a technical team. They had some chances but I think in the end we were the better side and you can see that in the scoreline.
Our coach told me before the game that I could get forward a bit more and that Sami [Khedira] would stay behind me. I am feeling better and better with each game and still hope to improve. I have been here three months now and I am used to the rest of the players and the coach's demands. I am happy with my progression. Whoever we draw in the next round it will be a hard tie but if we play as we can then we will be favourites to advance. In fact, I think we are the favourites to win the Champions League.
Kaká, Madrid attacker
I am very happy to have become the top-scoring Brazilian in the Champions League after tonight; 28 goals in this competition is a lot. My goal tonight was a very special one for me, especially as I was wearing the captain's armband which always seems to bring me luck. We qualified for the next round in second place which wasn't our objective as Madrid always look to be first but all in all the group stage was good. We must be prepared to face our next rivals, whoever they may be.
Pepe, Madrid defender
It was important that we won in front of our own fans tonight. We played a great game, especially in the first half. Several players who don't normally play got their chance and they showed that they have enough quality to be in the first team. The kids at this club have great spirit and they work so hard. We have come through a difficult group and we will be prepared for whatever team comes our way in the next round. We know it will be difficult whoever we face but we will give it our all.
Daley Blind, Ajax defender
It was a difficult game and one in which Madrid played really well on the counterattack. We made little mistakes here and there and lost the ball too easily. When you do that against Madrid they are quickly in on goal. We wanted to obtain a good result but it wasn't to be. We played to win but obviously that was never going to be easy here especially as Madrid played so well. I think that overall we deserved third place in the group as we played well against the other teams in the section. It's time for us to focus on the Europa League now. We will look to win every game in that tournament. Let's see if we can reach the final [in Amsterdam].
Siem de Jong, Ajax midfielder
It's normal that I should feel very disappointed with our performance tonight − especially as we wanted to start the game well. I think we can be happy that we have achieved third place in this group. Many people thought we would finish bottom of the section [when the draw was made] but our past performances [especially] against Manchester City should make us feel proud.