After a decidedly rocky start at Real Madrid in which Mateo Kovacic saw merely a few unimpressive minutes here and there, the Croatian international has begun to emerge as a significant piece of the mighty Los Blancos puzzle.
The former Inter midfielder had been out of favor at the Bernabeu as recently as a couple weeks ago, but that all seems to have turned around after being named a starter in consecutive wins against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League and against Eibar in La Liga. As a matter of fact, Madrid have won every match in which Kovacic has played (h/t Gazzetta).
One of Madrid's best overall matches of the season so far came when Mateo Kovacic played in the midfield alongside Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Isco. Kovacic is showing Madrid manager Rafa Benitez that he is an important part of this Blancos side.
Whether or not one believes him Kovacic be a lucky charm or not, the numbers never lie. Madrid appear to be a better team capable of winning more matches when Kovacic is on the field. As he continues to make appearances and the sample size increases, we'll be able to draw more confident conclusions. But for now, our beloved Kova is developing into a regular for an international superpower, and that makes us both angry and proud. It is, in a word: bittersweet.