Filip Benkovic - I rejected Italy, Spain and Germany to join Celtic

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Celtic’s £13 million loan defender Filip Benkovic has revealed how he turned down clubs in Spain, Germany and Italy to move to Glasgow.

But he accepts that parent club Leicester City could yet recall him in January.

New Celtic loan signing Filip Benkovic in action for his parent club Leicester City. Picture: Getty.

New Celtic loan signing Filip Benkovic in action for his parent club Leicester City. Picture: Getty.

The Hoops snapped up the 21-year-old on transfer deadline day on loan just weeks after he had signed for the former Premier League champions from Dynamo Zagreb.

Brendan Rodgers is hoping to be allowed to call on the Croatian Under-21 international for the whole season.

However, Benkovic has revealed he could head south to England in January if Leicester want him back.

But he’s determined to make an impact at Parkhead.

He said: “I was at Leicester for three weeks and it was great. The price tag was 
nothing to do with me.

“But I didn’t want to spend all season on the bench so I spoke to the manager and told him how much I respect the club, but I want to improve and the only way to do that is to get games,

“I’m young, I need the 
minutes on the park and the manager agreed with me. I want to play as much as possible, so a season-long loan with Celtic was agreed and Leicester has the option of recalling me in the winter.

“There were other loan options – clubs in Italy, Spain and Germany, but I just 
wanted to go to Celtic.

“I think this is the best option for me for preparing for football in England and their Premier League – that’s why I am delighted to go to Celtic.

“Because Leicester didn’t sell Harry Maguire, I knew this would be what happened to me. Going to Celtic gives me up to a year to adapt to British football so I am looking at this loan very positively.”

And Benkovic insisted he is full of admiration for Celtic manager
Brendan Rodgers, 
pictured.

Benkovic said: “Brendan Rodgers is a very big name in football. We had a discussion and I am delighted to be working with such a football expert.

“He told me he’s been 
following my career for a while and it’s great to work with him.

“Celtic are still one of the great names in European football and they have a massive fan base.

“The stadium is always full and they have supporters all over the world. For their fans, Celtic is a way of life. It’s a 
privilege to be here. I think this is a great stage for me. My goal is not to be sitting in the stands, I want to play and I think this was a good decision for me to come here.”

And Benkovic is looking 
forward to teaming up with an old friend.

He said: “I already know Jozo Simunovic – we played a couple of games together at Dynamo Zagreb.

“I only just broke through into the first team and he was already there.

“I have obviously spoken a lot with him to find out about Celtic. Unfortunately, he has an injury just now, but he should be back shortly.

“Who knows? Hopefully, we may have two Croats in the centre of the Celtic defence soon.”