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Kovacic was told to “follow Messi all around the pitch” during El Clasico against Barcelona

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Spanish TV show El Golazo de Gol showed footage of Zidane telling the midfielder to mark Messi.

Real Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane told Mateo Kovacic to “follow Messi all around the pitch” during the past El Clasico against FC Barcelona. Spanish TV show El Golazo de Gol showed video evidence of the talk this Tuesday.

Many fans and analysts wondered why Kovacic didn’t follow Rakitic on the play which led to Barcelona’s opening goal and decided to stay with Messi even though the Argentinian star didn’t have the ball, and here’s the reason why. Kovacic did a phenomenal job against Messi during the Spanish Super Cup last August and that’s probably why Zidane chose to deploy him in the midfield once again, trying to stop Barcelona’s most dangerous weapon.

Still, the game plan didn’t work as Rakitic had a clear path during the 0-1 which could have been prevented without that individual assignment for Kovacic.

Real Madrid are now 14 points behind Barcelona in the table, a distance considered too big to fight for the title.