Mateo Kovacic: talented and versatile but a huge gamble for Real Madrid

Internazionale have sold the 21-year-old midfielder to Real Madrid for €32m despite his slow start at the San Siro and debate over his best position

It took Mateo Kovacic more than 20 months to score his first Serie A goal. Signed by Internazionale from Dinamo Zagreb in January 2013, he was immediately given the No10 shirt but did not find the net in a league game until the following September. The drought ended at home to Sassuolo, Kovacic running on to a Dani Osvaldo lay-off before skipping past a defender and beating the keeper.

Relief gave way to excitement at San Siro. This was a strike that epitomised the midfielder’s best qualities – the composure, the elegance, the touch. Kovacic later added an assist in what became a 7-0 rout of Sassuolo, and supporters began to wonder whether he was finally ready to come of age.

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