Real Madrid have completed the signing of Croatia playmaker Luka Modric from Tottenham Hotspur as the stuttering Spanish champions seek an injection of guile and creativity to get their troubled season back on track.
Modric flew into Madrid on Monday morning and after passing a medical signed a five-year contract in the presence of big-spending Real president Florentino Perez before holding a news conference at the Bernabeu stadium.
The 26-year-old, who will wear the number 19 shirt, said he was relieved the protracted transfer negotiations had concluded before the transfer window closes on Friday and he was prepared to fight to win a place in Jose Mourinho's team.
"I have to work very hard to earn a spot in the starting eleven and I'm prepared to do it," he told reporters as his wife and young son looked on.
"I've come here to improve every day and to win titles with Real Madrid. These are my personal goals," he added.
"I believe I have what it takes to play here. I've got everything I need and I want to enjoy football and to learn.
"I'm grateful to Tottenham, but I'm now opening a new page in my life."
While neither club gave financial details, Spanish media reported Real would pay 35 million euros ($43.81 million) for Modric, plus another 7 million depending on the number of his appearances and the team's performance.
His arrival in Madrid may help Real put a poor start to the season behind them, during which they have taken one point from two La Liga outings and lost Thursday's first leg of the Spanish Super Cup 3-2 at Barcelona.
They crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat at city rivals Getafe on Sunday, which prompted a rare burst of public criticism of his underperforming players from a furious Jose Mourinho.
Real have a chance to reignite their season in Wednesday's Super Cup return leg at the Bernabeu when Modric hopes to make his debut.
"Real against Barca is one of the biggest games in world football and I would love to play but the coach will decide," he said.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who fought off bids from Chelsea and Manchester United for the fan favourite a year ago, said he was reluctant to let Modric leave.
Modric himself said last year he wanted to move to Chelsea but Levy blocked any deal with the club's London neighbours.
"Luka has been a terrific player for us and, while we preferred not to part with him, we are pleased that it is to Real Madrid, a club with which we now look forward to sharing a long and productive partnership," Levy said in a statement.
Modric joined Tottenham from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008 for 16.5 million pounds and after initially playing as a defensive midfielder, became a key element in the club's resurgence under former manager Harry Redknapp.
After a poor start to the season under Juande Ramos, the Spaniard's replacement Redknapp deployed Modric as attacking midfielder and Spurs rapidly improved.
With Redknapp at the helm, Spurs enjoyed two top-four finishes and reached the Champions League for the first time in 2010 when Modric's deft touches and inspired vision set him apart.
In all, he played 160 times for Spurs, scoring 17 goals, and was the creative heart of the side, whose attacking, expansive style was widely regarded as being among the most attractive in the Premier League last season.
Despite finishing fourth last season, Spurs were deprived of a Champions League berth after sixth-placed Chelsea earned the right to defend their title when they became European champions in May.
With Spurs only able to offer the Croatian Europa League football, their chances of keeping Modric at White Hart Lane were diminished.
His move to Madrid could now spell the end of Kaka's stint at Real, the Brazilian playmaker who has failed to live up to expectations since arriving from AC Milan for around 65 million euros three years ago.
Milan wanted to take the 30-year-old back on loan, although Real were holding out for a sale, the Italian side's vice president Adriano Galliano said on Sunday
- Real Madrid has announced the signing of Croatian midfielder Luka Modric. Photo: Guetty Images
- Real Madrid said in its website that Modric signed for 5 seasons. Photo: Guetty Images
- Modric was Jose Mourinho's top target this summer. He is a playmaker with a lot of talent and creativity. Photo: Guetty Images
- He started his career with Croatia's Dinamo Zagreb at age 16. He went on loan to other Croatian club and returned to Dinamo in 2005. Photo: Guetty Images
- With Dinamo Zagreb, Modric won 3 leagues and 2 Croatian Cups and was named player of the year in 2007. He was transfered to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 where he played for four seasons. Photo: Guetty Images
- Modric and Tottenham qualified for 2010-11 Champions League where the team was eliminated by Real Madrid in quarterfinals. Photo: Guetty Images
- He made 127 league appearances with Tottenham scoring 13 times. With the Croatian national team he has scored 8 times in 7 appearances.
- He was included in the ideal team of Euro 2008. Photo: Guetty Images