Not many players get the chance to test themselves against their childhood idols but Joe Willock was given that exact opportunity during pre-season.
Lining up alongside Granit Xhaka in our midfield, the 20-year-old was able to go head to head with a Real Madrid midfield containing Luka Modric.
And Willock has always looked up to the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner.
"Playing against such big teams in pre-season was a really big deal for me," he told Arsenal Player. "I always take it 100 per cent seriously because I want to show what I can do against the best players in the world.
"For me, the best experience over the summer was playing against a Ballon d'Or winner, Luka Modric. He's a central midfielder who I've always looked up to. I've watched him throughout my career.
"When I was younger and starting up, I was always watching how he used to caress the ball and play people in, the way he used to move past players... it's amazing really. It was a huge moment to be in the tunnel and look across to see him. That was big, but I've never feared anyone.
"Whoever you are, even if you're my idol, I'll go against you with everything I've got. My dad has raised me to never back down from any challenges. To play against him and test my ability against his, it was a big deal for me and that was probably the best moment of pre-season for me."
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