- Mateo Kovacic
- Current Team
- Chelsea FC
- Premier League
- May 6, 1994
A box-to-box midfielder with a good flair and dribbling skills, Mateo Kovacic has become one of the most important players for Chelsea over the years. As a kid, he trained with the LASK Linz’s academy.
Mateo Kovacic moved to Dinamo Zagreb aged 13 in 2007. In November 2010, he made his senior debut and scored becoming the youngest goalscorer in the Croatian League history.
His second season was better as he helped Dinamo Zagreb win the league title for the seventh consecutive time. He was named Croatian Football Hope of the Year. He was also nominated for the Golden Boy in October 2012. In total, he made 63 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb scoring 7 goals and assisting 11.
He joined Inter Milan in January 2013. He became a regular under Andrea Stramaccioni, the Inter Milan coach at the moment. At the end of the season, he has endeared himself to the Inter fans.
The arrival of Walter Mazzarri brought a different change with the coach preferring to play him in an advanced role. He struggled to adjust to the new position and he lost his place as an automatic first-team choice.
He scored 8 goals and provided 11 assists in 97 matches for Inter Milan.
Real Madrid signed Mateo Kovacic in August 2015 with Inter Milan forced to sell him to comply with Financial Fair Play rules. He was signed for €29 million and put to paper a six-year deal.
Rafael Benítez used him in various positions in the midfield due to his versatility. The arrival of Zinedine Zidane did not favor Kovacic as he has to become more of an impact sub. Zidane preferred a midfield combination of Toni Kroos, Modric, and Casemiro.
Mateo Kovacic still managed to win the Champions three times in a row with Real Madrid. He also won a La Liga title.
Chelsea secured the loan signing of Mateo Kovacic from Madrid in August 2018, before making the deal permanent for a fee of €45 million in July 2019. He signed a five-year deal. Though his start to life under Maurizio Sarri was less than ideal, he was a starter as Chelsea won the Europa League against Arsenal in Baku in 2019.
He became a much-improved player under Frank Lampard. He was a reliable presence in the midfield with his direct running, dribbling, and penetration opening up teams. He formed a good partnership with either Jorginho or Kante at the base of the midfield. He played in the FA Cup final loss against Arsenal before being controversially sent off. Chelsea fans named him Player of the Season at the end of the 2019/20 season.
Under Tuchel, he retained his place in the first team. He played a big part in Chelsea’s late-season surge as they secured an unlikely top-four finish and won the Champions League. He made a substitute appearance in the final.
Mateo Kovacic has been a regular for the Croatian national team since 2013. He played every game in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2018 World Cup in Russia as they made it all the way to the final losing to France.
He has 74 appearances and 3 goals for Croatia. He has previously represented his country in the youth grades.