Chelsea youngster Mario Pasalic’s career had been on a steady upward path. Shortly after arriving at Chelsea from Hajduk Split in 2014, he joined Spanish club Elche on a season-long loan deal. While Elche failed to avoid relegation from La Liga due to financial issues, Pasalic did his best to help the side on the pitch, contributing to their 13th-place finish in the 2014-15 season.
Having by then made his full international debut for Croatia (and just missing out on World Cup 2014 at the final cut), Pasalic then went on to join a club with higher reputation, heading the other way as Radamel Falcao arrived on loan from Monaco. But after a strong start, Pasalic’s spell in the principality had to be cut short due to a back injury.
In an interview to Goal, Pasalic revealed the extent of his frustrations with the injury that lingered on far longer than anyone had initially anticipated and even threatened to affect his opportunities this season as well.
"It was a very complicated injury and the first three or four months were frustrating. Treatment in Monaco didn't help, treatment in Chelsea didn't help. I didn't know how to get rid of it."
"Fortunately, I found great people and solved my problem. About 20 days ago I started to train at Chelsea and felt no more pain. Yes, the medical at Milan took two days, but Milan can't afford to sign a player without passing every detail, especially for someone like me that had been absent for a while due to injury."
"It was understandable and I haven't thought for a second anything could go wrong."
So Pasalic begins his third loan assignment, joining the once mighty Rossoneri who have fallen on hard times recently. Perhaps they can help each other in their ongoing recovery.
"Milan is one of the biggest clubs ever, but their recent record is not at that level. As soon as I came, I felt the size of the club. Walking through the club museum, seeing all the trophies, hearing stories of former legends, you can sense how big the club is at every level."
"It all happened suddenly with Milan. This transfer window I was very close to signing for two clubs, but those deals failed at the last moment. I heard about Milan's interest three or four days ago and I was thrilled from the beginning. It is great to hear such big club wants you, although I've been out of action for long time."
-Mario Pasalic; Source: Goal
If all goes well, the 21-year-old Pasalic should find his way regularly onto the pitch at San Siro.