Nemanja Matic revealed he came close to joining Middlesbrough earlier in his career, before he first moved to Chelsea. The 25-year-old Serbian midfielder re-joined the Blues in January from Benfica in a £26million deal.
But when Matic was at MFK Kosice, he was taken on trial by Middlesbrough.
"I don't know why it didn't happen - I went to join up with the national team and the clubs were supposed to talk, but I never heard any more about it.
"Branislav is a very good man. Everyone here likes him a lot and it is the same in the national team," he continued.
"We have lots of young players in our country's squad and they look up to him like an idol. It's good to have someone like him.
"We are only a small country, but for us Serbians I would say Branislav is a bit like David Beckham in England! In Serbia he is a king!"
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