Football

Atletico Madrid are preparing to face their local rivals Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday.

Gabi claims neither Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale are Real Madrid's best player

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The eagerly-anticipated first Madrid derby of the campaign kicks off on Saturday, with Real Madrid looking to consolidate their place at the top of La Liga, when they head to the Vicente Calderon to face Atletico Madrid.

However, while Los Blancos will be looking to their star player Cristiano Ronaldo to potentially be the difference in securing a victory for the visitors, Atletico captain Gabi believes there is one player who is better than the Portuguese.

It's not often that either of the rivals compliment their opposition, but the Atletico midfielder has admitted his admiration for one player who has impressed him during his four years at the Santiago Bernabeu, so far.

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While Ronaldo is arguably the best footballer on the planet - although Lionel Messi may disagree - Gabi believes that Zinedine Zidane has one asset more valuable to him than the 31-year-old Portugal forward.

As per AS, Gabi named Modric as Real Madrid's best player - having been a vital cog in Los Blancos' team and proving himself to be one of the best midfielder's in Europe.

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"With Modric, they have recovered their best player - he's the one who makes them play and gives the team balance." said Gabi. "We'll try to counter his playmaking skills."

Modric and Real eyeing La Liga title

The Croatia international arrived at the club in 2012, following a £30 million switch from Tottenham Hotspur, and the 31-year-old will look back at the move with great fondness.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

In that time, Modric has won the Champions League on two occasions - helping Real to become the first team to win the tournament 11 times - as well as winning two UEFA Super Cups, the Spanish Super Cup and Copa del Rey.

However, the league title has still eluded the Real star and Modric will be desperate for his side to continue their four-game winning streak in the league and open up a nine-point gap over their local rivals.

Los Blancos in fine form

A shock defeat for Barcelona, by Malaga, would open up a five-point gap for Real at the top of the table. But their current form suggests they will not need to rely on the results of their closest rivals this campaign.

UD Las Palmas v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

But Gabi will be hoping that Modric can't have the positive influence on Real that he so often does for the Spanish giants, when the two Madrid clubs meet on Saturday.

And should Diego Simeone manage to work out a way to silence Modric and co., it could mark a key moment in the Rojiblancos' campaign and reignite a title challenge that, of late, has stalled with two league defeats in their last three games.

Is Luka Modric as good as Atletico Madrid's Gabi suggests? Give your opinion in the comment box below.

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Topics:
Luka Modric
Gareth Bale
La Liga
Real Madrid
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo

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