Sports Nicknames - Kova, Il Professore

Mateo Kovacic is one of those players that catches the eye whenever he gets the ball. The Croatian midfielder has played for some of Europe's biggest clubs, including Inter Milan, Real Madrid Chelsea and Manchester City.

Player profile and illustration - Mateo Kovacic - Croatia, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter - Kova.  Art.  Drawing.

Kovacic started his professional career at Dinamo Zagreb in 2010, being nominated for the European Golden Boy award in 2012. This earned him a move to the Itay, with Inter Milan his destination. During his time with I Nerazzurri, he was nicknamed Il Professore by the Italian media. However, Kovacic was sold in 2015 due to Inter having to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations. His destination was Spain.

Real Madrid signed Kovacic for 3 seasons, although his playing time was not quite as prominent as it was at Inter. He did help the team win 3 Champions League titles and a La Liga title, but was never a guaranteed starter. By 2018, his role had diminished further and he was sent on loan to Chelsea in England. He helped the Blues to a Europa League title in 2019 and was named Chelsea's Player of the Year the next season. In 2021 Chelsea won the UEFA Champions League, making it the fourth time Kovacic won this prestigious trophy.

In the summer of 2023, Kovacic joined the English champions Manchester City.

Kovacic has also represented Croatia since 2013, being part of the squad at the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 UEFA European Championships the 2018 World Cup, the European Championships in 2020 and the 2022 World CUp. It was at the latter that he helped Croatia reach their first ever World Cup final, although they lost to France. Croatia finished third at the 2022 World Cup.

Mateo Kovacic is renowned for his technical ability on the ball and dribbling from deep. It is only early days, but Kovacic appears to be an important element of Pep Guardiola setup in their chase for the next trophy.


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