Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic described former Real Madrid teammate and Porto stalwart Pepe as a ‘lovely person’ and ‘amazing guy’ ahead of the pair’s reunion in the Champions League tomorrow night.
Kovacic was asked about the centre-back’s ‘reputation’, ‘tough character’ and whether he’d warned the Chelsea strikers about Pepe by James Robson of the Standard in the pre-match press conference.
This comes after the no-nonsense defender caused a bit of a media stir with claims that the Chelsea dressing room celebrated being drawn against Porto, something that Kovacic dismissed earlier.
Kovacic came out with some words that we hardly ever hear Pepe described with in a wonderful change, hailing the defender as a ‘lovely person’, ‘amazing teammate’ and ‘amazing guy.’
Kovacic added ‘I love him as a guy’ in a heartwarming message, before reiterating that the 38-year-old is also an ‘amazing’ player and ‘fighter’ who brings ‘good spirit’ to the Dragons.
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Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic was full of praise for ‘lovely person’ and former Real Madrid teammate Pepe before tomorrow night’s Champions League clash… pic.twitter.com/zVE2CwFLQ9
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“I just need to say first, I know Pepe as an amazing guy, lovely person and amazing teammate. I just appreciate the time I had with him at Real Madrid, he was amazing with me, I love him as a guy.”
“As a player, he’s amazing, we know what Pepe can bring to his team, a lot of experience and a lot of like… he’s a fighter, so he brings a good spirit to the team, but I don’t need to warn them (teammates).”
“Our strikers are used to playing against tough opponents in the Premier League. Every centre-back is quite hard and difficult, so it will be another game, full of big players and we will be prepared for that.”
The pair were teammates at Los Blancos for two years, with Kovacic expressing that the time they had together in the Spanish capital is something that he appreciates very much.
It’s nice to hear a testament like this from a player ahead of a massive knockout tie, it shows the respect that Kovacic has for Pepe, and clearly the gratitude for all his help when the Croatian was younger.
Kovacic spoke very well in his pre-match media duties for UEFA, also stating that he isn’t the ‘fighting’ kind amid clashes between Chelsea players, with the central midfielder more of a ‘lover’.