Mateo Kovacic talks up Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo at his unveiling
Real Madrid’s newest recruit Mateo Kovacic has expressed his delight at joining ‘the biggest club in the world’, reports ESPN. The 21-year-old was unveiled as a Los Blancos player at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday and added that he hoped to “live this dream for many years to come.”
“I'm at the biggest club in the world and it's very special. I have high hopes for myself and the whole team. Hala Madrid!,” Kovacic said after his unveiling.
The Croatian international, who penned a six-year deal with the Spanish giants after completing his transfer from Italian side Inter Milan for a fee believed to be around £35 million, will be wearing the No 16 jersey at his new club. Kovacic was visibly thrilled at securing the move and said that once Real expressed an interest in him, there were no second thoughts about leaving Italy.
"Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world, I'm in no doubt about that,” Kovacic reiterated in his first press conference as a member of The Whites, as reported by the club’s official website. “I'm very happy with the support I've been given from the word go and I hope I can show why the club have signed me. I've joined Real Madrid and it's the opportunity of a lifetime".
"It's a really important step for me and for my family, and I want to live this dream for many years to come. I'm used to dealing with difficult moments and I'm very happy to be here. I hope I don’t disappoint and that I can meet all expectations. When Real Madrid show an interest in you, there can be no hesitation; it only comes around once in a lifetime".
He also added that he couldn’t wait to get started at his new club.
"I'm young and I need to keep on learning. What I can guarantee is the enthusiasm and desire of youth and I hope not to fall short of the expectations of this club. Right now, what's most important is to start training hard so as to integrate as quickly as possible," he said.
Kovacic is a versatile midfielder who can play either as a deep-lying playmaker or as an attacking midfielder through the middle or at wide left. He said that though he would prefer to play as a defensive midfielder, it was up to the coach to decide on the matter.
“It’s not for me to decide my position; that's up to the coach. Where I’m most comfortable is as a defensive midfielder. I’ve spoken briefly to Rafa Benítez and he welcomed me to the club. I know him from his time at Napoli and I’m very happy to be able to work with such an important coach”.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the best: Kovacic
Kovacic said that he is honoured to be at the Bernabeu playing with “many phenomenal players” but left doubt as to who his favourite was.
“I've no doubt that all the players are phenomenal. But Cristiano is the best and the man who brings the most goals,” he said. “It’s an honour to be a part of this team, with players who have experienced it all. I'm just getting started. Every player wants to play at the Bernabéu.”
Kovacic can call upon compatriot Luka Modric to help him settle at his new club and said that he was looking forward to playing with the 29-year-old.
"He's a friend of mine. I'm very happy to be able to share a dressing room with him and I thank him for all the positive things he has said about me. Modric is a really great player, unique, in my view the best around, but each player has his own individual characteristics.”