Mateo Kovacic was the 12th player in the squad last season in number of minutes. He played 1688 minutes distributed in 27 games in La Liga, so we can see how important was the Croatian midfielder in the successful year. For this reason, we expect him to have the same importance next season, despite the new signings of the club.
Mateo Kovacic arrived to Real Madrid in two summers ago from Inter Milan for a transfer fee of €35M. The Croatian was signed to occupy an offensive part of the midfield, perhaps to give some rest to Modric and Toni Kroos. However, his role changed, especially last season, and he was Casemiro’s replacement.
Giving the fact that Real Madrid didn’t any other stopper, Kovacic was the easiest solution when Casemiro was injured or needed to rest. Zidane trusted him and the former Inter Milan player answer with great results. He was a very important part of the team, playing 600 more minutes in La Liga than in his debut year. He only scored one goal, against Real Sociedad at Bernabéu.
The way Kovacic controls the ball and is able to break the rival defence only dribbling is unique in Europe. He doesn’t highlight for his passes, but for the way he dribbles, although is a pure midfielder. Besides, he has great physical skills and can defend as well as attack with success.
James Rodríguez departure gives him some space to enjoy more minutes, but Dani Ceballos signing is a threat. The former Betis midfielder plays in his exact position and many Italian teams are killing to get Kovacic in their squads. Hopefully, Florentino understands that Kovacic is a great promising player -he’s only 23 years old- and he should be the next Luka Modric, who is over 30.
Overall, like the rest of the team, we can say Kovacic performance during the season was great. He stood up when Casemiro was injured in November, playing a great game at Calderón in the derby, and also in the final weeks, when Zidane decided to rotate the team a lot. In his third season in the club, he should enjoy more minutes and try to look even more to the rival’s goal.