Premier League club Chelsea are set to lock horns with Portuguese giants Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League over this week and the next.
The tie will see Blues midfielder Kovacic meet former Real Madrid team-mate Pepe, who helped Porto earn a place in the quarter-finals by beating Italian champions Juventus last month.
Looking ahead to the reunion, the Croatia international has heaped praise on Pepe and explained that he is aware of what the centre-back brings to the Porto team.
However, Kovacic pointed out that Chelsea’s forwards are used to going up against tough defenders in the Premier League and do not need to be warned about the challenges of facing Pepe.
“I know Pepe as an amazing guy, lovely person, and an amazing team-mate“, Kovacic told a press conference.
“At Real Madrid, he was amazing with me.
“I love him as a guy and as a player he was amazing.
“We know what he can bring to his team: experience and he is a fighter.
“But our forwards are used to fighting in the Premier League because the centre-backs are difficult.“
With a place in the Champions League semi-finals up for grabs, it remains to be seen who will come out on top when Chelsea and Porto lock horns.