When Chelsea paid £40m to sign Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid, little did we know that the club has signed up a rare gem.
Kovacic was signed up on a permanent deal, after a season-long loan, and while he didn’t really impress during his loan season, his signing was done at the time due to the transfer ban placed on the club.
Three years on, Kovacic is now one of the most effective players at Chelsea, and surely Real Madrid will be wondering how they missed out on keeping the midfielder who has grown into a world-class player.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has praised the attitude of the Croatian, not only on the pitch, but also in training.
According to Tuchel, Kovacic always wants to do more, and is angry when he does less — which surely makes him a manager’s delight.
“He loves training. He loves football truly from his heart. You can ring him 3 at night and he’ll be here 3:30 fully ready to do anything. He’s here with a smile,” Tuchel said.
“He’s always angry when you tell him he needs to do a bit less because he played the day before or he needs to play the day after. He is hungry for football and happy when he’s sweating, working hard. Pure please to be his coach… top player.”