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Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic said it would be “best” for him to leave the club this summer.
The Croatia international has struggled for regular minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu since moving to the club in 2015 with the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro ahead of him in the pecking order in the Spanish capital.
When asked about his prospects fornext season, the 24-year-old acknowledged it may be time to consider a career away from Los Blancos, per Juan Ignacio Garcia Ochoa of Marca:
“I know that it’s difficult to be a starter at Real Madrid, especially when I arrived at a really young age.
“I understand the situation, but because of that I believe the best thing for me would be to go to another club where I’d have the opportunity to play regularly as a starter.
“I think I can have this opportunity and it’s one I want right now.”
Sports journalist Jonas Giaever relayed how the interview with the former Inter Milan man was reported in the newspaper:
Jonas Giæver @CheGiaevara
Tomorrow’s MARCA: “I want to play more and the best is that I leave Madrid” – Mateo Kovacic wants out of Real Madrid. Wants to be in a team that allows him to start. “If I don’t play, I’m not happy”. https://t.co/9Q9kl45rQE
Last season, Kovacic started just 10 La Liga games for Madrid, with former manager Zinedine Zidane preferring the trio aforementioned.
In the main, when he has been included, Kovacic has done a fine job. His intelligence on the field means he’s capable of taking on a number of different roles for Madrid, whether that be shielding the back four or pushing forward in support of the forwards.
He is technically outstanding too. Kovacic can pass, can dribble past opponents and is never one to shirk a tackle either. At the majority of big clubs across Europe, he’d be a regular in the middle of the park.
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Yet it’s tough to argue against him being left out at Madrid, as Zidane steered the team to three UEFA Champions League finals in succession with the midfield triumvirate of Modric, Kroos and Casemiro key in each campaign.
Per journalist Musa Okwonga, frustratingly for Kovacic, he also has serious competition for his place at international level in the form of Modric and Ivan Rakitic:
Musa Okwonga @Okwonga
Croatia so good they could afford to keep Mateo Kovacic on the bench till eight minutes were left. Kovacic! The talent in that midfield is demonic.
While Madrid may view Kovacic as a possible successor to someone like Modric, there’s no sign his compatriot will slow down any time soon.
The impatience of Kovacic is understandable too. He’s waited patiently for a chance at Madrid and proved himself as a fine footballer when given opportunities. Perhaps things will be a little different under new boss Julen Lopetegui, but Kovacic is heading into his peak years and wants to show what he can do on a regular basis.