The 19-year-old Croatia international arrived in January for €11m plus performance-related bonuses and has been given the prestigious number 10 jersey this season.
“I am extremely proud that President Massimo Moratti said I was his Number 10. I just finished reading a book on the history of Inter so I could understand more about this club and the great Number 10s of the past,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Being able to wear this jersey is an honour. My life has changed so much here. I arrived alone, like a child who was forced to grow up. Tactically Walter Mazzarri looks after every detail, as he wants everyone to know where they have to be on the pitch.”
Kovacic is still looking for his first goal in an Inter shirt, though he is studying many of the current top midfielders in Europe.
“Mazzarri asks me to adopt a bit of a Hamsik-style position at Inter. I study Hamsik all the time, plus Modric, Iniesta and also David Silva. I watch their movements, their timing, the way they spread the passes and work for others.
“Modric told me to live my life as a professional, both in terms of nutrition and behaviour. It’s not just what you do on the field that’s important, but also keeping regular and organised hours.
“I finally got my drivers’ licence, so I don’t have to ask for a lift from my teammates anymore.”
- Walter Mazzarri