Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has admitted that he has found life at the Bernabeu "challenging" since leaving Tottenham Hotspur in the summer.
The Croatian playmaker completed a €35 million move to the Spanish champions after spending four years at White Hart Lane, but he has struggled to hold down a first-team place under head coach Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese has recently criticised the 27-year-old for his inconsistent displays and Modric responded in Croatian newspaper Sportske today. Quoted on as.com, he said: "This is Real Madrid. I understand there is great pressure for new signings to succeed here.
"I'm not making excuses, I am not that kind of person, but it is very challenging to adapt to life at a big club like Madrid. I have had a few good performances, if not in every game, but I believe that I can prove I have something to offer."
Modric has only started eight league games for the capital club, scoring just one goal as Madrid bid to close a daunting 16-point gap on league leaders Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Modric's Merengues team-mate Pepe has undergone surgery on his right ankle at a clinic in Portugal. "Pepe, after showing discomfort in his right ankle and after a medical check, was operated on this morning in Oporto... at the Espregueira Mendes Clinic. The player had an arthroscopy of the ankle," Real Madrid said in a statement online.
Spanish sports daily Marca said Pepe would be sidelined for about a month but he was already set to miss the game against Real Sociedad in the Bernabeu stadium this Sunday because of suspension.