Five dribbles, 73 passes: £40m Chelsea player impresses on international duty

Mateo Kovacic traded his Chelsea kit for a Croatian one last night but the results were exactly the same.  

Kovacic started for his national side yesterday evening as they lost their opening World Cup qualifying match 1-0 to Slovenia.

Although the general result was disappointing, Chelsea’s midfield maestro was in fine individual form.

According to, the 26-year-old attempted 73 passes with an accuracy of 95.9%.

Photo by Igor Soban/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

He also a completed five dribbles, a game high.

Chuck in a couple of key passes and a pair of tackles, Kovacic’s display was pretty complete.

These are the kind of statistics that Blues fans have learned to love over the past two years.

His levels have remained pretty consistent ever since signed from Real Madrid permanently in 2019 for £40m (BBC Sport).

Forever the definition of cool and composed, Kovacic always adds a touch of class to his team’s midriff.

Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Never a standout name on the team sheet, the Croatian quietly goes about his work without much fuss.

Elegant in possession and dogged out of it, he has almost everything a midfielder could want in their repertoire. Except goals and assists. In 134 appearances, Kovacic has scored just twice and assisted another seven.

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

However, he offers so much more than simply being a threat in the opponent’s area.

It may just not be so obvious to see, which is part of Kovacic’s charm.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.