'My first tackle with Nemanja drew blood' - Uros Matic on his family's tough love

Uros Matic has revealed that years of support and rivalry with his sibling have set them both up for careers in football as he awaits his FC Copenhagen debut in the Europa League on Thursday. 

'Nemanja may be my brother but I'm my own player'

FC Copenhagen signed Uros back in December for a fee of €2.5 million from Sturm Graz to replace their star player Thomas Delaney.

Meanwhile, Nemanja is one of Antonio Conte's regular starters as they roar clear at the top of the Premier League.

Both brothers are expected to compete for their respective league titles with their teams, and the younger of the Matic brothers believes their sibling rivalry sustains their careers as he recalled an incident that drew blood in training while they were both at Kosice.

"When I came to my first training session in the Kosice first team squad and everyone was there - they all thought: 'Oh he’s got his brother, they will go easy on each other,” Uros said in a chat with Goal describing the crunching tackle that set the tone as the midfielders entered the world of football.  

"The first challenge between me and him in training drew blood! No one expected this and I think they were shocked. If you are a professional, you just have to think about your job, never mind who is your brother or who is your friend.

HD Nemanja Matic Chelsea

"We always had a friendly competition, but I don’t compare my career with his. He has gone to a high level of football and we are all proud of him. Me and my brother, we are really connected.

"He played a big role in my life. He is my big brother and he has always been a great example to me, both inside and outside of the pitch. He is a good person and he has taught me about everything. He is my blood and we grew up together."

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It wasn't just the support of Nemanja that helped Uros in his career, although the pair did play for both Košice and Benfica at the same time, before going there separate ways to Chelsea and NAC Breda respectively. 

The pair had a football upbringing with their father Dragan having both children with Biljana while playing as both a striker and centre-back at Macva Sabac in Serbia. He went on to coach both boys after he retired, as he took up coaching children in Serbia as he left the sport, and Uros credits his family's support for making it in the game. 

"Macva Sabac in ex-Yugoslavia was a big team and my dad played for them when I was born," he continued. "They played in the top Yugoslavian league. He had many big names in his team, in ex-Yugoslavian football. I think we learned many things from him. He is more universal than me and my brother.

"He could play as a striker and a central defender. It depended on the match. When he ended his career he coached kids and taught them their first steps with the ball and I had the possibility to learn so many things from my father.

"Sometimes he was a little bit straight with me but of course it was a professional upbringing. He knows what it takes to make it, he helped us a lot and everything we have done is because of him and my mother.

"My village [where my family live] always stays the same, the people get older, but the rest is the same. It is a positive place to be. I like to go back and recharge my batteries. I know everyone. They live together and they work together, they are helping each other and that’s what I like there.

"I feel comfortable with them [in Vojvodina] and it is nice to go there with the family. It is a big pastime in my life to go there and relax."

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Uros is aiming for Champions League qualification through winning the league at Copenhagen, while he can look forward to two huge matches against Ludogorets in the Europa League and a derby with Brondby at the end of the week. 

At the same time, Uros is in awe of the career his elder brother has enjoyed at Chelsea and is even more impressed with his brother's humility despite all his success.

"Chelsea are a really big club, it is nice to see a member of my family play in this kind of club, full of legends," he added. "It is unbelievable. I am proud and at first it was hard to get used to, but now it is just normal and I don’t get stressed.

Diego Costa Nemanja Matic Chelsea 01102016

"He is a simple guy and he hasn’t changed in his whole life. You need to keep your values as success is temporary. He is a warrior on the field and can handle the pressures of the games. 

"It is a difficult league to play in with so many good teams and I am happy to see my brother on the top - we will see what happens if they become champions and we will have to celebrate if he does."