Nemanja Matic has retired from international football this week so that he can focus on club football. He’s made 48 appearances for Serbia and was in their squad for the last World Cup and helped them qualify for next summer’s postponed Euros.
Speaking with the official United podcast, Matic has talked about how he’s always liked United and that Nemanja Vidic joining the club made him want to do the same.
United in Serbia is very popular. It is probably, after Red Star and Partizan, it is the third club. If you look at how many supporters they have, Red Star is number one, Partizan is second and United is third.
I always liked United especially when Nemanja Vidic was playing here. He is from Serbia, he lives not far from my house in West Serbia, so we always supported him. When I got the opportunity to come here I wanted to play for United, for probably the biggest club in England and one of the best clubs in the world. We can say maybe Real Madrid, Manchester United and maybe Bayern. For me that’s the three biggest clubs in the world.
It was easy to make the decision. I don’t want to say that I was not happy at Chelsea, of course I was happy, but I thought it was the right time to move. As I said, when you get the chance to go and play for Manchester United I think that you have to use that. I respect everyone, I respect of course, Chelsea, but I felt it was the right time to move.
Old Trafford was a different place to play at in the final games of last season, with fans not allowed to go to games because of covid, but Matic has spoken about how special it is usually to play then.
To play at Old Trafford, if you play for United or you play for other teams, it is always special. When you step on the pitch, for me it is the best stadium in the world. You can see it has some history. It has something different to other stadiums. I have to say, Tottenham’s new stadium is great. A lot of new stadiums, they look good, but Old Trafford has something different and I hope that they can keep it like that.
It is always special. For me, when I played against United for Benfica or for Chelsea it was always good motivation, it was always high because you want to do your best against United to show your quality. So I know exactly how the other teams feel when they play against us, especially at Old Trafford. That’s why we need to know that they will always give their best. They want to show their quality and their motivation against us is always bigger then when they play against other clubs.
Last month, Matic signed a contract to keep him at the club until 2023, so has spoken about what that means for him and what he hopes for the future.
I signed a new contract. I’m very happy that the club believes in my work. I have to say when your club offer you a new contract it means something. That means you are doing a good job and I was very, very proud when we started to talk about a new contract. I didn’t think a lot, I said to my agent, ‘Of course I want to sign’. My family is happy. My son almost started to cry because he can stay in the same school. From September he is under ten he is also playing at United so for my family it is also great.
From the next season there is no excuse. We have to go with everything. We have to fight for the title because I felt that this year we dropped some points too easy. We allowed Liverpool to win, I don’t know, ten games before the season finished. They won the league, so we cannot allow that. We need to fight to the end. We have to play with more confidence, with more responsibility.
My personal target is to win the league with United and I am sure that everyone wants to do the same. We have to promise our supporters that we will do our best – exactly what we have done after corona when we started to play again. That’s United. We have to win five, six consecutive games then you can drop some points, then again you have to do that run. Like that we can win the league. In the beginning of the season we were not stable, we won one or two games then we lost and we drew. Proper United is exactly what we did after corona and I hope we can continue like that next season.