Nemanja Matic has revealed he long dreamed of playing for Manchester United, having idolised the treble winning-side of 1999.
The Serbian signed for the club for nearly £40m from Premier League champions Chelsea in one of the surprise moves of the window, reuniting with his former-manager Jose Mourinho.
He’s now claimed that he’s living his dream, having grown up with Man United being one of the greatest sides in the world.
“To play for Manchester United has always been a dream of mine,” he said.
“I’m living my dream now, and of course I have a dream about winning the league with United.
“I still remember I watched the Champions League final in 1999 on the television. I know everything, or at least almost everything, about Manchester United.”
Matic is the second high-profile Serb in a United side, following in the footsteps of the man who shares his name, Nemanja Vidic. It is the centre-back, as well as club legend Ryan Giggs, who Matic admired.
“United was a big team back then. They had many fantastic players, but for me, Ryan Giggs was the greatest. When Nemanja Vidic came to United, I also admired him.”
It’s fantastic to hear a player come in who claims to know about the history of the club. Too many players who come in are unaware of the great past the club has, whether that be the importance of the Munich Air Disaster, the struggles of the club to stay afloat in both the early 1900s and in the 1930s, or the three European Cup wins in 1968, 1999 and 2008.
The club has a responsibility to educate the players on why representing United carries great weight, but the players themselves also have a responsibility to learn. Figures like Juan Mata and Ander Herrera from abroad, as well as Englishman like Ashley Young, appear to ‘get’ the club in the same way as Patrice Evra did to become a fan favourite at Old Trafford.