Nemanja Matic is not listed on Puma's featured athletes webpage. I'm guessing that's just a short-term oversight, as it appears that the BEAST is one of their spokesmen for the new evoPOWER 1 boot.
"[My representative and I] spoke for one minute [about the Chelsea offer], that was it. I knew what was best for me. I had no doubts about coming back."
"...this was the right moment to play in the Premier League again. I feel I am prepared now to do well here. It's the best moment in my career."
Sixty whole seconds!? But that's fifty-nine seconds wasted! Practically an eternity!
Acknowledging his tremendous development at Benfica, Matic credits our pal Jorge Jesus with believing in him and converting him from an attacking number-10 to a complete midfield general.
"When I arrived at Benfica I'd been playing like a No10 in the team, but the first thing the coach did was tell me: 'You are going to be a defensive midfielder here,'" he says. "He thought I could play better in that position, so I worked every day with him to improve tactically, and trained hard physically. I'd stay every day after training doing work alone in the gym and, with these two things together, I've improved."
"It wasn't easy because I'd never played that position before. At the start, to be honest, I didn't do well there but Jorge Jesus believed in me. He believed in my quality and kept saying: 'Just do what I ask and, slowly, you will play better and better.' That is what happened. I'd watch DVDs of other defensive midfielders to see how they moved, and I worked closely with Javi García, who was at Benfica at that time. He already knew what the coach wanted, so that helped my education. It took a few months, but I got there. Benfica always play to attack: they feel they can win every game in the Portuguese league, so when we didn't have the ball I'd always try to [regain it] and set up a counterattack quickly. I enjoyed it."
By my calculations, Jorge Jesus just out-Mikel'd Jose Mourinho. And much to our benefit. Thanks, Benfica!