The transfer rumors surrounding Juventus and Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic haven’t exactly been as plentiful as they were 12 months ago. But, based on what the young Croatian said on Friday, that could very well change in the very near future.
In an interview published late Friday night in Spain, Kovacic has told Spanish sports daily MARCA that he wants to leave the three-time defending European champions this summer. Citing a lack of playing time, Kovacic, at age 24, has never gotten the kind of consistent playing time with Real Madrid that he received when played for Inter Milan.
“I want to play more and it’s better for me to leave Real Madrid. I love football and I love being on the pitch, so I want the opportunity to be a starter. I’m not happy when I’m not playing.”
(Source: Managing Madrid, via MARCA.)
At this point, it’s hard to blame him.
As much as Real Madrid’s midfield is one of the best units in all of the world, being a second stringer for the last three years in Spain has to have taken its toll. You move to a club like Real Madrid at his age with the hopes of doing great things and then end up being a reserve for pretty much the entire time, that’s something that a player — especially a young one — can only deal with for so long.
And it looks as though Kovacic has reached his breaking point.
As they point out at Managing Madrid, there have been reports that Real Madrid have told Kovacic’s agent they don’t want the 24-year-old midfielder to leave the club. However, when we heard a couple of weeks ago that Kovacic was reportedly on Juve’s radar again this summer, the caveat was that his future in Madrid would depend on the new manager that took over for Zinedine Zidane.
Looks as though the new manager, Julen Lopetegui, hasn’t done enough to convince Kovacic to stay put if that is indeed the case.