EXCLUSIVE By Ante Buskulic
Mario Pasalic is hopeful that his loan move to Monaco can improve his prospects of getting his chance in the Chelsea first team upon his return.
The 20-year-old midfielder has moved to the Stade Louis II for a year as part of the deal that saw Colombian star Radamel Falcao link up with Jose Mourinho's side.
Having spent the 2014-15 campaign with Elche, Pasalic admits that he was not expecting the opportunity to join Leonardo Jardim's team.
"I am delighted and it all happened like in a movie," he told Goal. "On Wednesday I was at the beach and [on Thursday] morning there was Monaco's private jet waiting for me at Split airport!
"I have signed a one-year loan and am proud to play at such a big club; it is an honor when a Champions League quarterfinalist wants you. I believe I will find my place in the starting lineup and prove to Monaco that they were right in bringing me here."
When asked about whether he thought playing for the Blues was an option this season, Pasalic admitted he does not believe he is ready.
"Chelsea? No, it was not an option. I need to improve, grow and then hope to get a chance with Chelsea," he said. "I've had several interesting options but than Monaco appeared - and you don't reject that...
"I've met the director for football and spoke shortly to coach Jardim. We agreed to speak longer on our first training day - then, he will explain everything to me, what he expects from me... training starts on Monday."
Pasalic arrives at Monaco just after Geoffrey Kondogbia's 35 million euro transfer to Inter and is "honored" to have the chance to succeed the France international.
He enthused: "Kondogbia is a top player and I am honoured that the club see me as his successor. Hey, I am 20 years old and have played in the Spanish and now the French leagues. Not bad."
"I have spoken to Danijel Subasic," the youngster added of his fellow Croatian, the Ligue 1 club's first-choice goalkeeper. "I know he will be a big help for me."