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Marko Arnautovic has never lacked self-belief and he certainly made a lasting impression when he first met Jose Mourinho.
Aged just 18, the Austrian declared himself better than Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adriano upon arriving at Inter Milan.
That's according to Mourinho, who was boss of Inter at the time Arnautovic joined on loan from Dutch outfit Twente in August 2009.
Mourinho told talkSPORT: "My technical director at Inter, Marco Branca, he arrived with that player that he followed and he wanted to bring over from Holland. He [Arnautovic] was 18.
"Marko says: I'm better than all of them."- talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) June 22, 2021
"Ibrahimovic, Adriano, Hernan Crespo and Julio Cruz are my strikers at Inter Milan."
"At 18, he said he's better than all of them."
José Mourinho tells a brilliant story about meeting Marko Arnautović at Inter Milan. pic.twitter.com/piEqdIB6wB
"When Branca arrives with him we were training. They stay there on the touchline and in the middle of the training session I decided to go over and say hello to them.
"At the time, in my first season at Inter, my strikers were Ibrahimovic, Adriano, Hernan Crespo and Julio Cruz.
"I go to Branca and Arnautovic, we shake hands and share a few words and Marko tells me, 'Mister, I'm better than all of them.'
"Ibrahimovic, Adriano, Hernan Crespo and Julio Cruz - Marko is 18 and he's better than all of them!"
Arnautovic played just three times for Inter, later spending time with Werder Bremen, Stoke and West Ham prior to a switch to the Chinese Super League with Shanghai Port in 2019.
Now 32, Arnautovic continues to cause controversy, most recently when he was ruled to have used insulting language towards North Macedonia players after scoring for Austria at Euro 2020 and handed a one-match ban.
"This is Marko," Mourinho added. "A kid with incredible confidence, incredible happiness, very emotional, very sweet, he's everything that you want in a group.
When you've just scored for #AUT at @Euro2020 - and clearly want to get something off your chest...- ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 13, 2021
What did you make of this Marko Arnautovic celebration? #ITVFootball ' #Euro2020 pic.twitter.com/5yBCyWxcjo
"The group loves him. He can have these bad emotional reactions, but he was an amazing kid and now he's an amazing family guy.
"He's completely different in terms of his life outside the professional life, but this is Marko."
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