In the Serie A ‘Game of the Week’, Inter Milan defeated 1st place Napoli 3-2 to shrink the lead atop the Italian table. Both Ivan Perišić and Marcelo Brozović got the start for Inter with Perišić heading home a corner a minute before the halftime whistle – that barely crossed the goal line. With the win, Inter now trail Napoli by four points for the lead in Italy.
Did Mario Pašalić and Lovro Majer read Zlatko Dalić’s article in Sportske Novosti this week? Whether they did or not, the two Croatian fringe players (Majer much more than Pašalić) had huge Saturday’s!
Pašalić scored twice and assisted once in Atalanta’s 5-2 victory over Spezia. The win keeps Atalanta in the top-4 of the Serie A table as their Croatian has finally found a home in Italy after getting the transfer ‘run around’ as a Chelsea-owned player for five years. When Chelsea bought Pašalić from Hajduk Split in 2014, he went on loan to Elche, Monaco, AC Milan, and Spartak Moscow before his final rental with Atalanta in 2018. Atalanta finally bought the Croatian attacking midfielder from Chelsea in 2020 for £12 million and the rest is history. Pašalić has scored 24 goals in 106 Serie A matches for Atalanta and has been a vital part of the Champions League club. At only 26 years-old, Pašalić is hitting his stride with the Croatian national side and could be battling Nikola Vlašić for his CAM spot with the team in 2022. Pašalić has scored six goals in 34 matches for the Vatreni since his debut in 2014.
Lovro Majer is riding the wave of momentum he created for himself prior to the international break with another goal for French side, Rennes, Saturday night. The 23-year-old Majer, who was purchased from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer, has solidified his starting spot for Rennes, who sit 2nd place in France and will be playing for a Champions League berth this season. In their 2-0 win over Montpellier Saturday, Majer found himself open in front of the net and volleyed a short header pass from teammate Gaetan Laborde into the ground and past the Montpellier keeper for his first Ligue 1 goal.
Luka Modrić got the start for Real Madrid on Sunday and played 80 minutes in a 4-1 victory over Granada. The win puts Real Madrid back in 1st place in La Liga. Modrić received a 7/10 grade from the TheRealChamps as he “made a stellar run off the ball and unselfishly tapped it to Vinicius Junior for Real Madrid’s third goal of the afternoon. The Croatian sensation continues to blow minds at the age of 36, and it is truly unfair to every other team in Europe how good he remains in midfield. By Modrić’s standards, this was just another day at the office. But for any midfielder, it was another solid display in a supportive role for the attacking pieces.”