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Inter Milan 2020/21 Report Cards: Marcelo Brozovic

The Croatian orchestrator was a key cog of the Nerazzurri midfield

FC Internazionale v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Welcome to our Marcelo Brozovic 2020/21 report card. As part of our post-season coverage, we’ll be dishing out grades and analyzing every Inter player’s season.

It’s impossible to award credit for Inter’s Scudetto glory without mentioning the name of Luciano Spalletti. Antonio Conte’s predecessor laid the crucial groundwork that Conte built upon to propel the Nerazzurri to the next level. Inter qualified for the Champions League in both campaigns under Spalletti, and thanks to those financial boosts, was able to conquer the peninsula last season. And while it’s secondary to taking Inter back into Europe’s premier competition, another effect of Spalletti’s tenure regards a certain Croatian. Midway through the 2018/19 season, the Italian tried putting Marcelo Brozovic into a deeper midfield role as a regista. He hasn’t looked back ever since and that position is now firmly Brozovic’s alone. The 28-year-old has joined the ranks of the best midfielders in the league and is one of Inter’s most influential players all thanks to a stroke of Spalletti genius.

Position: Center Midfielder

Games Played: 42 (3,241 minutes, 36 starts)

Goals/Assists: 2G/7A

What went right this season?

To say Brozovic was a big part of Inter’s play in possession is almost a disservice. Brozovic was Inter in possession. When he was clicking in the center of the pitch, the Nerazzurri could run circles around the opposition. Brozovic’s ability to play the right pass at the right moment got Inter out of quite a few sticky situations under pressure and he could spring the quick attack or slow down the pace of play with only a few touches. The Croatian’s incredible passing numbers further show his importance. He led Inter in touches last season (84.10 per 90), completed the 2nd-highest passes, the most long balls, 3.66 switches per game, and 9.63 passes under pressure.

Not only was he the crossroads of Inter’s midfield, but Brozovic’s impact stretched into both off-the-ball defending and the attack as well. He was 2nd in tackles won, successful pressures, and interceptions on Inter, and also notched the most blocks and the 4th-most clearances. In attack he averaged over eight passes into the final third a game, created the 2nd-most shots (3.11 per 90), and was fifth in expected assists.

On or off the ball, in attack or defense, in transition or under pressure, you could bet that the Nerazzurri’s crazy Croatian was somewhere near the action. No one had as much importance to Inter’s performance week-in, week-out than Brozovic.

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

Best Moment:

The run of five assists in four games in January stands out as one of Brozovic’s most memorable stretches of play, but it was his showing in the 2-0 over Juventus that exemplified the best of the Croatian. Here was what we had to say of his performance in our match recap.

Brozovic - 8.5 (Man of the Match: Part 2): Barella and Vidal may get the headlines, but it was Brozovic who was the real engine on the Nerazzurri. Lead the team in touches (93), garnered a 92% passing accuracy, was 8/8 on his long balls, won 5 duels, made 3 interceptions, and 3 tackles. Whew, I almost got tired after just thinking about the Croatian’s massive workload.

What does he need to improve on?

Brozovic does everything that’s asked of him in Conte’s system with perfection. But it’s an open question as to how that role will change under Simone Inzaghi. It’s possible he’ll have to add on to his current repertoire but as a regista, Brozovic is a perfect fit.

What role will he play in 2021/22?

The Croatian’s contract expires next summer and as of yet, there hasn’t been much talk of an extension in the Italian media. Losing him on a free would be a terrible mistake but it remains to be seen if Inter can afford a new deal for him along with the likes of Bastoni and Barella, among others. It’s possible he’s sacrificed to the transfer market this summer, though Inter couldn’t ask for a very high fee. A best-case scenario sees Brozovic renew in the coming months and continue to be a key player under Inzaghi. Now, however, could be the last opportunity to cash in on him whatsoever.

Overall Grade: A+ (9/10)