Football culture in the family
Matic’s father had coached him before he played for some youth teams like Obrenovac 1905, Red Star Belgrade and Partizan. His younger brother Uros also plays the same sport as a central midfielder for the Danish club Copenhagen. He started his career at Slovakian club Kosice where Nemanja had already established himself as a regular starter and then joined him again at Benfica in 2013. He is now back at Copenhagen after joining NAC Breda and Sturm Graz in between.
Matic could have joined Boro
Matic had a trial with Middlesbrough when they were actively involved in the first division in England in 2009. He was supposed to join them after an international break with Serbia, but somehow the talks between Boro and Kosice broke down, and the move failed. Chelsea seized the opportunity and signed the midfielder for £1.5 million. It could have been a different story had Matic joined Boro, and we could have lost to see the best out of him had that happened.
Started as an attacking midfielder
When Matic was signed by Chelsea and then manager Carlo Ancelotti in 2009, he used to play as an attacking midfielder, but due to the presence of Michael Essien and Michael Ballack, he struggled with game time and was loaned out to Benfica where Jorge Jesus defined Matic’s position as a defensive midfielder. Ever since then, Matic has done amazingly well in that position and is one of the best in the holding role.
Refused to play for the Serbian team
When Matic was at Benfica, he refused to play for the Serbian national team then managed by Sinisa Mihajlovic, as he hardly got any playing time when he was called up for the previous five matches, but he did return for the World Cup qualifier against Croatia in 2013. After a terrible 4-1 defeat to Czech Republic for the Euro 2016 qualification, Matic threatened to quit from international football as he criticised his national teammates for a poor performance.
Mourinho likes him
It was Jose Mourinho who brought the Serbian back to Chelsea when he was signed back from Benfica. Mourinho’s game play always has a strong central figure in the midfield, and that is the biggest reason why he likes Matic so much. It is not only Matic’s physique that is helpful but also the protection he gives the back four which is so comforting to get as a manager. Jose wanted to sign him last summer, but Antonio Conte blocked the move, but he was helpless this time as both parties wanted this move to happen.