Matic decided to call time on his second spell at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea emerged victorious in their chase of ex-Monaco man Tiemoue Bakayoko. The Serbian completed a move to Old Trafford two weeks ago in a deal worth £40m, and made his official debut for the club in their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in the Super Cup.
Having re-signed for the Blues while Mourinho was still at the helm, the 29-year-old became a pivotal player as Chelsea won their 4th Premier League title in 2014. Last season, Antonio Conte led them to their 5th title, and while Matic was a core player alongside N’Golo Kante, it was the Frenchman who ended up with a majority of the credit.
The signing of Bakayoko meant that, had Matic stayed, he would have been forced to accept the role of a benchwarmer. Considering the fact that he is approaching his peak years, he decided against remaining with the Londoners, and jumped at the chance to sign for Mourinho again – albeit for United this time.
Now, in a recent interview with Sky Sports, Conte acknowledged the brilliance of Matic and his importance to the team, while also expressing his disappointment at being forced to let go of the midfield anchorman.
Conte stated: “Matic knows very well what I think about him — the importance for me about this player, who is a really good player, a top player, very important for our team. But sometimes you must accept this crazy transfer market, and sometimes you must accept different decisions. But he is a great loss for us.”
Gary Cahill also revealed his admiration for Matic recently, and echoed Conte’s words, saying that the Serbian international’s departure will be a huge loss for the squad.
“For me, Matic is a fantastic player – a real, real top player,” said the English defender. “I think I had the benefit of realising how good he is when he’s playing just in front of you – on and off the ball. He’s going to be a huge loss, there’s no doubt about that.”
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