Inter legend Luis Suarez believes selling Mateo Kovacic is similar to letting Andrea Pirlo leave the club.
The Beneamata sold Pirlo to city rivals Milan in 2001, with Drazen Brncic moving the other way. The former went on to win six Scudetti and two Champions League titles with Milan and Juventus.
“Mateo had to become the focal point of Inter’s future,” Suarez, who played over 250 games for Inter told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“When you saw him play, you could tell he was on another level compared to the others.
“The comparison with Pirlo is appropriate. Andrea left because the club did not have the patience to wait for him to mature, and then he became the player everyone knew he would.
“Kovacic has the quality to become the new Pirlo. And don’t tell me he struggles in the defensive phase because at the same age Pirlo defended badly, but then improved in that aspect of his game.
“The lad needed teammates at a higher level that could help him grow, but instead he found himself as a leader at 20-years-old, and [he had to] assume responsibilities that were too big so that his flaws have been magnified and his productivity disappeared.”