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Kovac: 'Golovin is our Messi'

Publish on 29/11/2021 at 08:12 - L.DAVEY

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Monaco's Aleksandr Golovin has showed flashes of his undoubted brilliance during his time on the Côte d'Azur after arriving from CSKA Moscow in July 2018, and according to his coach Niko Kovac, the Russia International has a similar influence to that of a certain six-time Ballon d'Or winner now plying his trade in the capital.

Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Strasbourg signaled Monaco's third-consecutive draw in Ligue 1 Uber Eats and the principality side will be looking for an upturn in fortunes starting on Wednesday, when Kovac's side face a tricky trip to Angers.

Despite a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad last Thursday to secure qualification for the knockout stages of the Europa League, Monaco ended the weekend in ninth position in Ligue 1 Uber Eats and the Croatian coach believes that the availability of Golovin is the key to his side putting together a positive run of domestic results.

"Golovin is a very important player for us," said the former Bayern Munich coach. "Of course, we have many important players and each team has their talisman, but in Golovin, we have a player who is key to the way we play."

But the compliments did not stop there for the 25-year-old Russian as Kovac made a glaring comparison that will no doubt delight the midfielder.

"It's like when Messi was at Barcelona, they were a different team without him. It was the same club, the same squad, but without him, it wasn't the same. But when Messi was on the pitch you could see the real Barcelona. 

"Last year, at the beginning of the season, it was evident just how hard it was to create chances in his absence. It's simple, when he plays, we create chances and we look far more dangerous."

Whilst Kovac was full of superlatives for his midfielder, he revealed that there are still areas of his game that he wants the Russian to further develop.

"He is an intelligent boy, but still a little too introverted. When I arrived at the club in 2020, I told him to impose himself more, score more, make more assists and be more decisive. There are signs that he is doing that but there's still so much more room for him to progress and that is great news for us."

Golovin has been hampered by numerous thigh and hip injuries during his time in Ligue 1 Uber Eats but has weighed-in with 16 goals and Kovac will be hoping his star man can stay injury free as Monaco try to turn around a stuttering domestic campaign.

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