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Kovacic downplays Pirlo comparisons

Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic says he is flattered by comparisons with Juventus star Andrea Pirlo.

The Croatia starlet has been compared to Pirlo since his move to Italy in January, but has stressed he does not attempt to emulate the man he considers one of the finest players in Serie A history.

“Pirlo is one of the best players in Italy, perhaps in the history of Italian football,” he told Corriere dello Sport.

“I play my football, he plays his, but there are no comparisons. I am just starting and I have to learn a lot, but he is great.”

Inter face Antonio Conte’s league leaders in a crucial match on Saturday, but Kovacic has stressed his side must put all thoughts of rivalry aside and concentrate on securing maximum points to aid their push for the Champions League places.

“I know little of the rivalry but I know the Bianconeri,” he said.

“They have proven themselves a great team, the strongest in Italy. For me, games are all the same because they are all worth three points. Juve are a great team, but a game is a game. I want to win.

“It’s hard to get in the Champions League because we are now sixth, but if we play as well as we did against Tottenham we can do it.

“We have to play well every game, which honestly we are not doing now. If all we give 120 percent, we can qualify.”

The 18-year-old moved to Serie A during the January transfer window for a fee in the region of 13 million euros, and despite reported interest at the time from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, he claims he only ever wanted to move to San Siro.

“Nobody contacted me directly, but I would have picked Inter either way,” he said.

Thu 28 Mar, 2013
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