€6m striker says Chelsea wonderkid 'has a beautiful character'

Hajduk Split

Marko Livaja, an old friend of Chelsea newbie Mario Pasalic, believes he has what it takes to become a star.

Chelsea agreed a pre-contract deal with talented Hajduk Split teenager Mario Pasalic on transfer deadline day in January. It was a deal that slipped many by and it was only when his medical was confirmed last month that it became clear this Croatian wonderkid was on his way to The Bridge.

The midfielder, who has been compared to Chelsea heroes Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard in playing style, will formally arrive at the club later this month, complete a medical, and in his immediate future it looks like he will be playing elsewhere on loan - with Italian side Lazio the current favourites.

And this week he was in high spirits, after getting the nod for the provisional Croatian World Cup squad - a just reward for his magnificent performances in the Hajduk Split first-team.

And today he has had his praises sung by a former Hajduk prospect.

Marko Livaja was at Split from 2008-2010 before the young Croatian moved to Inter Milan in 2011. The 20-year-old went on to spend time with Swiss side Lugano, Cesena and Atalanta - but just this week committed to a €6 million move to Russian outfit Rubin Kazan.

But during his time living in Split he was a neighbour of Pasalic's, and in an interview in Italy discussing his move to Russia he discussed his old friend:

"He lives near my house. He is very talented and has a beautiful character. This has been shown both in Croatia, but now he must do so abroad where things are more difficult. "

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