23-Year-Old Mateo Kovačić Plays 100th Game for Real Madrid

By 4 April 2018

The Croatian footballer has made 100 appearances for the royal club! 

Thinking back on my 23rd year, sure, I accomplished many things. Graduating University for starters, and working at my second job in tech in San Francisco was another, but playing my 100th game for perhaps the world’s best football club, Real Madrid, never really crossed my mind. Unfortunately, it’s because I am not Mateo Kovačić. 

The Croatian footballer has accomplished a rare and highly honorable feat at his ripe, young age, and in last night’s Champions League match against Juventus (where Ronaldo scored goals for the history books), Kovačić celebrated a special jubilee - 100 games for the royal club. 

And what a game it was for the Croat to celebrate his 100th appearance. In the quarterfinals of the Champions League against Juventus, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and his spectacular two goals crushed the Italian side. You can take a look below at what may go down as the best bicycle kick in history.

Though the game was already 0-3 for Madrid (Marcelo also dazzled past Buffon for the game-winner), in the 82nd minute, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane substituted Kovačić in for his Croatian counterpart, Luka Modrić. In his short time on the pitch, Kovačić played with class, and even hit the crossbar in the 88th minute for a potential 0-4! 

Though Kova missed celebrating his 100th with a goal, he did get his five minutes of fame in the Real Madrid dressing room after the match. Kova was welcomed in the dressing room with a Real Madrid shirt commemorating his 100th game for the club. He also had an opportunity to take a photo with his teammates to remember the memory. 

"Another amazing match. It’s an honor to be part of this team,” wrote Mateo on his Instagram page, which received over 300,000 likes by his 3.6 million followers. 

The photo, however, does not include Ronaldo - but not because he is said to be outing the Croatian from the team. Last night, Ronaldo was chosen for random doping tests, of all players. 

Kovačić arrived in Madrid three seasons ago and has endured everything, literally. Though doubts still follow him, he always finds a place in this Real Madrid generation which will be remembered for years.

Mateo Kovačić is just 23 years old, and not only does the Croatian footballer have 100 appearances for Real Madrid, but he has also won two Champions League and one La Liga championship with the Spanish club. This is something the majority of footballers couldn’t experience in their entire career.

Bravo, Mateo!