Real Madrid on Wednesday presented new signing, Croatian international midfielder Mateo Kovacic to the press and supporters in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
The Spanish club are thought to have paid around 30 million euros (around 33 million US dollars) for the services of the 21-year-old who joins from Inter Milan and whose arrival was made official on Tuesday night.
A mainly defensive midfielder Kovacic has carried out several roles with Inter, also playing in the number 10 role, although in Madrid he is viewed as a long-term successor for Luka Modric, whose absence following a knee injury in the second half of last season was badly felt by Real Madrid.
At his presentation Kovacic said Real Madrid are the world’s biggest club and that he demands a lot of himself and his teammates.
“I’m at the biggest club in the world and that’s special. I expect a lot of myself and the team as a whole. ‘Hala Madrid!’ [come on Real Madrid]” were the Croat’s first words at the Bernabéu.
Kovacic, who should go straight into Rafa Benítez’s squad for Real’s league opener in Gijón on Sunday, looked thrilled as he posed for pictures with his family.
Florentino Pérez extended a warm welcome to Kovacic.
“We are introducing a young, experienced and talented footballer. He’s a great player signed from a club with which we have an amicable relationship. He arrives at the most valuable club in the world, the club with ten European Cups to its name, to embark on a new adventure at the age of just 21. This is your home from now on. The fans here will always support you; you will help us to be better”.
This was the club president’s explanation for the Croat’s signing:
“We have a magnificent squad and a great coaching staff, but here at Real Madrid we are always thinking about improving. The highest standards are expected here and that’s why Real Madrid never rest in the search for talent”.
The midfielder impressed current Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez during his spell with Italian side Napoli over the past two years and he has signed a six-year-contract keeping him at the club until June 2021.
Kovacic’s arrival means there will have to be departures from the Real Madrid squad with Lucas Silva, who only arrived in January and Asier Illaramendi, who has struggled to impress since signing from Real Sociedad, the main candidates to leave.