Inter – Juventus Turin: Marcelo Brozovic, the indispensable forgotten

It’s a game Marcelo Brozovic will remember for a long time. The kind of people who change your career. March 11, 2018, Giuseppe Meazza Stadium. Inter are then only a shadow of that of today, struggling desperately to grab a place in the Champions League. On the menu for the evening, a shock against Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli who, for his part, is in the midst of the fight for the scudetto. To counter the Neapolitan army, which will end the year with 91 points (!) Without winning the title, Luciano Spalletti decides to place Brozovic in the heart of 4-2-3-1, with Roberto Gagliardini by his side. An umpteenth attempt to find a place at the Croatian international, tossed around in all positions without much success. But that night, everything will change. Faced with the opposing pressing, the Croatian international is capital in the first raises. Between accuracy and vision of the game, he puts on the costume wonderfully. The match ends with a score of parity (0-0). But without knowing it, Inter have won much more.

Since that day in March 2018, Marcelo Brozovic has not left his post as « regista ». The years may have passed, and the coaches too, he remains the cornerstone of his team. Not necessarily the brightest or the brightest, but probably the most essential. Landed on the Inter bench at the dawn of the 2019-2020 season, Antonio Conte quickly understands the importance of his midfielder. The two quickly connect. The technician, who then changes the whole way of playing Inter with his 3-5-2 with perfectly repeated mechanisms, asks him to optimize his game.

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« Brozovic is a player who runs a lot, maybe even too much, explains Conte before a match against Lazio. He is very generous and has a lot of energy to spare. He must do the right races and be in the right place at the right time to be less exhausted and more efficient. But he has made a lot of progress on this aspect. « Version 2.0 of the Croatian midfielder is even more complete: better lucidity in defensive covers, better ability to read pass lines and impeccable ball coverage in the possession phase. In addition to a consistently high mileage. Average: 12.5 km per game at that time. And 11.6 km this season, just behind Morten Thorsby (Sampdoria). Brozovic can do it all on the pitch: lead, recover and dictate. He decides when to accelerate. the maneuver or slow it down. It is again he who chooses the direction of the game. « For me, he’s even the best midfielder in Serie A« , launched the former legend of Nerazzurri Beppe Bergomi, at the end of December, on the set of Sky Italia. To tell the truth, he is not the only one to think so.

In the game of « formazioni probabili » in Italy, that is to say the « probable compositions » before each meeting, Brozovic is a guarantee. Unless injured or suspended, his presence is always recorded. This season, he has not missed a game under Simone Inzaghi: 26/26. A constant. Last season, the counter stopped at 42 matches. Without his positive Covid-19 test in November 2020, he would even be more substantial. Same story in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020: 42 and 46 matches. From the top of his 29 years, the consistency of the one who has a bomb tattooed on his neck is impressive. « He is incredible, assures Borja Valero, his former teammate. It covers all the ground. We can see his importance when he goes to take the ball on the defensive line and in his way of always offering himself. He is a 360-degree player and indispensable to Inter who does not have a similar profile. « 

Epic Brozo

Impeccable on the pitch, Brozovic is a little less impeccable off the pitch. So much so that he’s self-nicknamed « Epic Brozo » for the funny life he leads. Hard to forget, for example, this time when he presented himself, visibly drunk, at the San Carlo hospital in Milan. He was then accompanying a friend with a leg injury. Relieved of a treatment that he considered too slow, he did not hesitate to insult the hospital staff copiously, forced to call 112. Once calmed down, Brozovic then returned to apologize to everyone. patients and doctors. In July 2020, the Inter player was pinned down by the police after running a red light aboard his Rolls Royce Cullinan. His blood alcohol test read 0.54 g / l, synonymous with license withdrawal. All with an additional fine for an illegal license plate. The club had also decided to sanction him.

Adept at self-mockery, the former Dinamo Zagreb player does not take himself too seriously. On the occasion of a Sampdoria-Inter, he decides to wear a pair of crampons customized in the colors of his team with, on the side, a smiley face that has accompanied him for many years. The same one who is tattooed on his right hand and whose expression he reproduces for each of his goals. Another time, it is a crocodile that he decides to lean against his shoes. Why ? Quite simply because Brozovic was one of the first players to lie behind his wall during an opponent’s free kick. It was during a Barça-Inter in 2018 and, for once, the tactics had worked. In Italy, this gesture was renamed « la mossa del coccodrillo » (the crocodile tactic, note).

A formalized extension

Despite his few escapades, Inter has no intention of parting with his « Epic Brozo ». At the end of the contract next June, the midfielder has had proposals from foreign clubs, including the Premier League. But he has always given priority to his current club, despite rumors even speaking of an interest from PSG. According to The Gazzetta dello Sport, an agreement has been reached between the parties in recent days. Unless otherwise indicated, Brozovic will sign a new lease until 2026, with a salary of six million plus bonus, to arrive at a total of seven million.

« Discussions have always taken place in a good spirit, entrusts us a person close to the file. Brozovic has always expressed his wish to stay at Inter, who also wanted to keep him. The momentum may have seemed long, but the epilogue had been written a long time ago. The player is happy in Milan and his family too. There was never any question of leaving. « The formalization of this extension could take place by Sunday and the shock against Atalanta Bergamo.

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