FIRST WORDS: NEMANJA MATIC
Nemanja Matic completed his transfer to Chelsea from Benfica on Wednesday, and quickly sat down to discuss the move with the official website.
The Serbian international midfielder, 25, will wear the number 21 shirt, and is raring to go having played his final game for the Portuguese side last weekend, in a 2-0 win over title rivals Porto.
Nemanja, welcome back to the club. How are you feeling after returning?
I am very happy for this opportunity to be back at this club. I feel very good because of that and just want to say I will give my best to help the team and make the Chelsea fans happy.
Is this the same Chelsea you remember when you left?
Of course it is not the same now. The team is younger now. When I was here before most of the players were very experienced, 30 years or older, and now we have a strong team with a big future.
You clearly still know the club…
Yes, I always watch games when I have the time and step by step, game by game, Chelsea is growing. I speak with Branislav Ivanovic, my friend and international team-mate a lot, a few times each month, so I know everything about the club!
We have a different manager from the last time you were here. Have you spoken to Jose Mourinho and what are your impressions of him?
Yes, we have spoken. He said to be professional, to give my best for the team. It's exciting to work with him, he is the best coach in the world and I want to work with him for a long time. I am ready.
You signed a long contract. What are your immediate and longer term aims?
First, I want to play and help the team to win the Premier League, and if it's possible to play in and win the Champions League in the future (Matic is cup-tied in this year's competition). I want to win titles here.
There remains a lot of competition for places. Are you confident you will be a regular now?
Yes. I've played regularly in a big club at Benfica, where it is not easy and there is a lot of pressure. In those years I learned to be a winner and play under that pressure. I developed tactically in Portugal also, training very hard and I believe I am better physically also.
As a person, you seem quieter than Branislav. Is that right?
I don't know. I am a quiet family guy, but then I think he is also! Maybe he is a little bit crazy! I am a simple guy, most of the time I am with my family, my wife and my son. I like to be with them and they make me happy. My wife is five months pregnant with our second baby, a girl.
You played against Chelsea in the Europa League final. What are your memories of the game?
It was a good game. Branislav scored in the last minute, so I was not very happy, but if somebody must score this goal, I was happy for him. We were unlucky to lose, but somebody had to, and it was good to be in the final. I said congratulations to Chelsea and wished them all the best. People said I played well but I have not seen it again after, I couldn't watch it because we lost. I gave my best, like always.