Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic has given an interview to ESPN Brasil this week. As he attended a child’s event at the club, the player talked to reporter João Castelo Branco about several matters, especially his past.

Speaking of his childhood in a conflict zone, the played said he wasn’t much aware of it due to his parent’s care of his family. That’s why those years were relatively calm for him: “My parents didn’t allow me and my brother to know anything about that, because I was very young and I didn’t remember anything.

“When I was young was the best period in my life… just 20 kids around, one ball, that’s it, we played football all day. Sometimes we’d go to the school.”

Matic was bought by Chelsea from Kosice in 2009, and had a loan spell at Dutch side Vitessebefore being sold to Benfica in 2011.

Repeatedly changing countries ended up being a complicated for the player, who had to learn a new language every time. But he succeeded in his longer spell at Benfica, and can now speak Portuguese.

“When I came to Portugal I was the only guy from, let’s say, the East side of Europe, and I had to learn it. I was there for two and a half years. And in the first two years, especially, I had to learn Portuguese. Otherwise it’s impossible to live there.”

“It was important for me. I know my Portuguese is not perfect, but I speak to people. They understand me, I understand them, which is the most important. It was a good experience for me. I learned a lot. Not only football, but also a different culture.”

Due to his fantastic time in Portugal, Chelsea ended up convinced enough to buy him back in 2014. It was certainly a good decision, and now he’s ready to win the league as part of one of the best midfield partnerships in Europe alongside N’Golo Kante.

But when speaking about the title race, Matic gives the same line as other Chelsea players. He doesn’t want to celebrate until the proper time: “It’s a trophy. But it’s a long way to go, so I don’t know if it’s going to happen. We’ll try to do our best.”