MADRID (AP) Real Madrid officially presented new midfielder Mateo Kovacic to fans at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Wednesday.
President Florentino Perez said that although the 21-year-old Kovacic was young, he is experienced and possesses great talent.
Perez said Kovacic was the fifth Croat to join Madrid, where countryman Luka Modric is a midfielder.
”We are sure that you will help us be better and that with your talent and commitment you can experience something exceptional, the excitement of being part of the great history of Real Madrid,” Perez said.
Kovacic thanked Madrid for its support, adding ”Hala Madrid,” before posing alongside his parents, sister and girlfriend with his No. 16 shirt.
”Madrid is the greatest club in the world and I hope I don’t disappoint,” he said, adding that although it was not up to him to decide what position to play, ”where I’m most comfortable is in the defensive midfielder role.”
Kovacic first met Rafa Benitez in Naples and said he was ”delighted to be working with such a great coach.”
”This has all happened very quickly,” he said. ”They asked me three or four days ago and I agreed because it’s a very important move for me and for my family.”
Earlier, the player passed a medical examination and signed a contract, the club said.
Madrid acquired Kovacic from Inter Milan on Tuesday in a bid to bolster its already talent-filled midfield, with the Spanish league season about to start.