Chelsea’s tough-tackling midfielder Mateo Kova?i? has exposed his softer side by explaining the touching origin behind his goal celebration.
When the Croatian scored away at Valencia in the Champions League, he raised his hand to his face, and has now explained that the gesture is a nod to his two nieces, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome.
Kova?i?’s long-range strike at Mestalla was his first goal for the club, having previously gone 44 games without finding the back of the net for the Blues.
And speaking to ?Chelsea’s official website, Kovacic told how the celebration had been in the offing for quite some time and now he has opened his account, he plans on scoring more for his loved ones.
“I’ve had the celebration prepared for a while because I didn’t score last season!” he said. “It’s nice when you score and you can celebrate with the family. They have waited a long time but now I hope I can continue like that.”
After failing to notch during the entirety of last season, the Croatian has hit a purple patch and followed up his Valencia strike with a goal in Saturday’s 3-1 ?Premier League defeat away to ?Everton.
Continuing, Kova?i? revealed that his lack of goals had become a sensitive topic around the club and even confessed that boss Frank Lampard had started questioning his striking prowess.
“Last season I was obsessed a little bit [with not scoring] because people were always asking when I was going to score,” he said. “He [Lampard] has joked about that before but I also think he was being serious, because he knows I should score more goals.”
?Chelsea boss Lampard will be hoping to see Kova?i?’s name more regularly on the scoresheet, and Tuesday night against Lille would be a great game for the Croatian to continue his goalscoring touch.
The Blues know that a win at home to the French side would guarantee qualification to the knockout stages of the? Champions League.
Lille currently sit bottom of Group H and it should be a comfortable night at Stamford Bridge – but if the Blues slip up, it could leave them playing in the Europa after Christmas.