Luka Modric savoured a ‘sweet tasting loss’ after Real Madrid saw off a stirring Chelsea fightback to book their place in the Champions League semi-finals.
The Spanish giants suffered a 3-2 defeat after extra time in a thrilling second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday but went through 5-4 on aggregate.
Modric said his side had showed huge character. And he later tweeted ‘Giving up is not an option’.
Modric told BT Sport: ‘Unbelievable to describe this game. We were dead until the goal we scored.
‘Chelsea scored three goals, maybe the first a bit lucky from a deflection. I can’t say we played badly. They used their chances well and scored the goals.
‘We didn’t give up. We kept believing, fighting and in the end showed huge character.’
‘It was another incredible night, what a sweet tasting loss. We didn’t give up until the end. Despite going 0-3, I don’t think we played a bad game. Another night of suffering, but the important thing is that we have qualified.’
Chelsea had looked on course to complete an astonishing comeback after taking a 3-0 lead in their quarter-final second leg with goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and an excellent individual effort from Timo Werner.
Yet the hosts came roaring back, with Rodrygo finishing from a superb pass by Luka Modric to level the tie 4-4 on aggregate and force extra time when Karim Benzema headed home to decide a remarkable encounter.
Giving up is not an option.
— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10) April 12, 2022
Modric added: ‘This stadium and the fans were very helpful when we were losing 3-0. They kept supporting us and it gave us a boost to keep believing.
‘The manager did great changes. They did well.
‘In this competition experience is playing an important role and I think today it helped us a bit. For me, they are the most difficult team to play against. they are a tough, physical team. We knew it would be tough.
‘In the end we showed great character, desire and togetherness to manage to turn it around. A defeat that is very sweet.’