Mateo Kovacic spoke to uefa.com in a revealing interview.
His performances gave garnered much attention. Inter legend Javier Zanetti dubbed him the greatest young talent Inter have signed since the time of Ronaldo.
“It’s a great compliment from a great champion like Zanetti,” said the humble star. “If he said this, it’s a beautiful thing. He always spoke well of me as I do of him. He was an extraordinary player and is a wonderful person.”
The 20 year old landed in Milano in January of 2013 and has not looked back since, impressing the world over. But before that time, he had made over 20 UEFA Champions League appearances, scoring one goal among those for Dynamo Zagreb.
“Yes, (wearing the captain’s armband) even though I was so young was a great honor for me. I hope one day to return to wearing the shirt of Dynamo, my favorite team, a club full of pure talent.”
“I always follow the results of Dynamo. I have many friends there,” the Croatian said. “I have moved up on the European stage, and they gave me that opportunity to go to Inter. I can only say thank you,” added the gracious playmaker.
His choice to join Inter involved more than the Nerazzurri just being a big club.
“I had a couple workouts with the club (Inter) when I was 10 years-old,” he revealed. “Inter being among the clubs with great European tradition influenced my choice. I’m really glad now that I made that decision and am happy to be here. It is a club with fantastic supporters, who are very emotionally attached.”
Mateo’s progress has been constant although he many not have initially scored as many goals as he would have liked. It took him more than a season, but he finally did so with classic Kovacic-aplomb.
“The important thing was the score the first goal because I hadn’t in such a long time and it was weighing on me a little. In the end it came among three against Stjarnan.”
He has scored four goals in the Serie A this term and has solidified his starting place, but the young no. 10 wants to win trophies with Inter. The Nerazzurri face Celtic in the Europa League Round of 16 on the march towards that goal.
“We have a good team and I think we can give even more because there is so much room for improvement. Going all the way in the Europa League? Yes, we can do it. But we also need good luck, because football is so, it also depends on luck.”
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