Mateo Kovacic

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has heaped praise on RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, who the Blues were reportedly interested in signing this summer.

As per transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the Blues made a late bid of €90 million to sign the Croatian centre-back. However, Leipzig rejected the offer, and Gvardiol has even now a new five-year deal with the Bundesliga club.

Nevertheless, the Blues will now make an attempt in January to sign him next summer.

Gvardiol, 20, came through the ranks of Dinamo Zagreb and moved to Leipzig in 2021. He has played 52 games for the German club so far and has also earned ten international caps for Croatia.

Speaking about his compatriot, Kovacic said in a press conference (via Football.London):

“At the club, they asked me about Josko. I told them all the best. I don’t need to say anything about his football, they know what kind of player he is, and his character is excellent. I have seen in the national team how eager he is to play; he has a great career ahead of him, and I hope that one day, we will play together in the club.”

Kovacic, 28, also came through Dinamo Zagreb’s youth system before moving to Inter Milan, Real Madrid and now Chelsea. He has made 187 appearances for the west London club so far, contributing four goals and 13 assists across competitions.

“It’s really nice to be here” – Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic on facing Dinamo Zagreb in Champions League
Chelsea will take on Dinamo Zagreb away in their first UEFA Champions League group stage encounter of the season today (September 6).

Ahead of the game, Kovacic, who came through the Croatian club’s academy, said in a press conference (via Sportbible):

“It’s really nice to be here. It is a really good feeling to be in Zagreb, see the people I haven’t seen in a long time. I have only now realised how much of a long time it has been. I am looking forward to the match tomorrow in a full stadium. I am a Dinamo fan. I have very many family and friends coming here, but I have been able to get tickets for them.”

Interestingly, in the Champions League group stage this season, Kovacic will get to visit all the cities where he has been affiliated with a club before other than Spain.

Chelsea have been drawn in Group E with Italian club AC Milan, Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb and Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg.

The Croatian midfielder played for Austrian club LASK in his youth days before moving to Dinamo Zagreb. He also played for Inter Milan, who play in the same city as AC Milan.

He will complete the quartet of cities he has played in if Chelsea face Real Madrid in the later stages of the tournament.


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