Former Chelsea player and a now reported Liverpool target Nemanja Matic has been in great form throughout 2013. His performances with Benfica have been exemplary, and it has been an embarrassment for Chelsea - who let him go to the Portuguese club for nothing as part of a deal that brought David Luiz to Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool are now the latest big club said to be interested in the player, who is believed to be searching for a move away from Lisbon in the summer of 2014.
His release clause is €50 million, however it is believed they are more likely to accept a deal in the region of €35 million for the man they call ‘The Spider’.
But you would not be paying that price for his memory, or brightness.
At least judging by a recent story out of Serbia.
Matic has not been a regular for the Serbian national team since his debut in 2008, but coach Sinisa Mihajlovic is now keen on the player and Matic featured in recent games against Japan and Macedonia.
He was impressive in both ties, as a young Serbian outfit won their games 2-0 and 5-1 respectively over the winter break.
But he almost had an embarrassing moment in the game against Macedonia - when he very nearly came off as a substitute, even though Mihajlovic didn’t want him to?
What happened? Well, Matic wears the number 21 at Benfica and has obviously got used to it. So when the 21 flashed up on the fourth official’s board the 25-year-old started making his way to the bench to be subbed.
But Matic wears number 14 for Serbia, while the number 21 was being worn by Filip Djordjevic - leaving him rather red-faced:
For two years I was at Benfica, playing every Wednesday and Saturday, so I was used to the number 21, and when I saw that the referee showed the number, I immediately started to get out of the game. Then I saw that the team manager Aleksandar Boskovic was confused, so I remembered on this team I’m wearing number 14, and that the game should come out Djordjevic.’’
If Liverpool do snap him up, he would struggle to take the number 21off of Lucas Leiva’s hands.
So expect to see him wandering off at some point.
image: © Yoca91