Igor Jovicevic, now 49-years-old and the current FC Shakhtar manager, was once a 17-year-old playing for Real Madrid Castilla alongside Raul and Guti, being managed by the likes of Rafa Benitez. The Croatian was brought over from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer of 1991, but never made a first team appearance. He spent 4 seasons with Castilla, racking up 79 appearances. After his playing days ended, he moved into coaching and worked with the Dinamo Zagreb youth teams from 2017-2020— coinciding with Josko Gvardiol. In an interview with Radio MARCA, the coach talked about his former player:
“Gvardiol made an enormous difference at the youth level,” Igor Jovicevic revealed. “There are footballers who are chosen. He is one of them. There are players who are chosen and you have to bet on them, without fearing for their place. I want to see him at Real Madrid, he is ready for it.”
Gvardiol was one of the breakout stars of the World Cup in Qatar and has been heavily linked with a move to either Chelsea or Real Madrid. Gvardiol has already come out and publicly confessed his admiration for Real Madrid. RB Leipzig will demand big money for their center back who is tied down until 2026, some rumors have suggested the fee could be in the €100 million range. It is unclear if Real Madrid are willing to make that type of investment on a defender, but their is concrete interest in the Croatian as reported by various media outlets including MARCA and The Athletic.