Juan Jesus: Coutinho the 'best I've played with', Kovacic is 'new Iniesta'

Coutinho Liverpool

Inter Milan's Juan Jesus spoke kindly of Nemanja Vidic and Mateo Kovacic - but reserved his greatest praise for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho.

Fan engagement on social media is all the rage these days for clubs - an effective way to connect the public with the players they support on a daily basis.

Tottenham’s #AdeSalute Twitter campaign grabbed most of the attention on Thursday. The North London outfit asked fans to send in pictures paying tribute to Emmanuel Adebayor’s trademark goal celebration.

But as could be expected, rival Arsenal fans and even some disgruntled Spurs supporters took the opportunity to ‘troll’ the club’s account in a humorous twist - depending on who you ask.

Silliness aside, fan engagement on Twitter can actually produce some revelations from players themselves - particularly in question and answer sessions.

Inter Milan defender Juan Jesus took part in one such event as the Adebayor debacle unfolded, and gave a salute of his own to Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.

“My idol is Cristiano Ronaldo and the best I’ve ever played with is Coutinho,” the Brazilian wrote.

“He did some crazy things and is also a very good friend.”

The pair were briefly team-mates at San Siro, their Inter stints only overlapping by about eight months as Coutinho was on loan at Espanyol when Juan Jesus arrived in January 2012.

But clearly the defender’s compatriot showed enough to have an impression on him, even in struggling for regular minutes with the Nerazzurri.

And in retrospect, Juan Jesus certainly looks to have a good eye for talent - the playmaker has gone on to be a key cog in Brendan Rodgers’ side since moving to Anfield last winter.

However, one man still at Inter that is suffering the same plight Coutinho did in Milan is Mateo Kovacic.

Despite being hailed as the next great star and future of the Nerazzurri - like Coutinho - the Croatian has been on the fringes of Walter Mazzarri’s squad and heavily linked with Manchester United.

Yet Juan Jesus sees great things in Kovacic’s future - likening him to a Barcelona icon of similar playing style.

“What do I think of Mateo Kovacic? In my view, he is the new Iniesta.”

No matter if Kovacic does land at Old Trafford this summer or not, a United stalwart will be moving the other way to Inter - Red Devils captain Nemanja Vidic.

New Nerazzurri owner Erick Thohir brought in the decorated Serbian to provide experience to a back line in transition, set to lose veteran Walter Samuel.

And Juan Jesus, recovering from a season-ending injury, said he is impatiently waiting Vidic’s arrival.

“It will be an important experience to play alongside Vidic and I can learn so much - I can’t wait.”

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