Kovačić Reveals How He Left Madrid, Advice from Modrić

Daniela Rogulj

Mateo Kovačić will play for Chelsea on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.

Croatian footballer Mateo Kovačić said on Thursday in London that he did not intensively train with Real Madrid to force the administration to release him from the club, reports Gol.hr on August 9, 2018. 

“I did not train much with Real Madrid because I was keen on coming to Chelsea… so I did not train much. I will do my best to be ready,” said the 24-year-old midfielder. 

The European Champion Real Madrid sent Kovačić on a one-year loan to Chelsea, after which he should return to the Santiago Bernabéu next summer. Since Sunday, Kovačić trained in Madrid, and on Monday, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca, announced that he will stop training if Real Madrid did not allow for his departure, even though he has a contract with the club for another three years, or until the summer of 2021.

Kovačić did, however, normally train on Tuesday, Real Madrid reported, discarding information of a training boycott. On Wednesday morning, after Real Madrid and Chelsea had already reached an agreement, Kovačić had a light training at the gym before heading to London.

The Evening Standard wrote that Kovačić admitted he had asked Luka Modrić for advice before the deal was concluded with Chelsea. 

“I always talk to Modrić, he is, of course, happy for me, but he is sad that I am leaving because we are very close, but he told me that London is a great city,” Kovačić said.

Luka Modrić, the 32-year-old midfielder and Croatia captain, played for Tottenham from 2008 to 2012 before coming to Real Madrid. In the summer before his departure, he refused to train with Tottenham to ensure the Board would allow his transfer to Real Madrid. Modrić’s representative, Vlado Lemić, also participated in the transfer of Kovačić to Chelsea, according to Spanish media, though this information has not been verified.

Kovačić was particularly close to Modrić after he came to Real Madrid in August 2015. 

“He told me that the English Premier League would be tough in the beginning but he also said that this is a beautiful league, with stadiums that are always full and that I will enjoy it,” Kovačić added. Chelsea finished last season in fifth place in the Premier League. 

Asked about the 26-year-old Brazilian midfielder, Jorginho, who was also brought to Chelsea this summer, Kovačić replied: “I’m excited to play with him, and I think we’ll enjoy being on the pitch together, but the coach is the one to decide who will play. I need to do my best to prove myself.”

Kovačić came from Inter Milan to Real Madrid and has been trying to compete for a place in the starting eleven for the last three years. He has had an opportunity, however, to come off the bench as a substitute for Modrić, Casemiro and Toni Kroos in the 4-3-3 formation.

In June, Kovačić publicly announced that it would be better for him to go to a club where he would continue to play. Two weeks later, Julen Lopetegui was named as Real Madrid’s new coach, who could not guarantee him playing time, though on Wednesday he said: “Mateo could be important for his team.”

Asked whether it would be more difficult to win trophies for Chelsea than for Madrid, Kovačić said, “Of course, but this team has won a lot in recent years. I’m joining a team that wins all the time.”

Chelsea won the English Cup last season and was the champion in 2010, 2015 and 2017. For the past three years, Real Madrid has won the Champions League and the World Club Championship.

Translated from Gol.hr


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