Luka Jovic is capable of making the desired impact at Real Madrid but needs a “mentor” to help him on the field as the support of Zinedine Zidane is clearly not enough, says Veljko Paunovic.
The Blancos invested heavily in the Serbia international when winning the race for his signature in 2019.
With a prolific 2018-19 campaign having been enjoyed at Eintracht Frankfurt, Real believed they were acquiring a suitable alternative to established No.9 Karim Benzema.
Jovic has, however, registered just two goals in 15 appearances for the Liga giants and generated unwelcome headlines for breaking movement restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic and picking up an injury while in lockdown.
Fellow countryman Paunovic, who spent time in Spain with Atletico Madrid and Getafe in his playing career, admits that the 22-year-old has flopped so far.
He is, however, confident that potential can be unlocked if Real are able to provide the right guidance and support for a frontman who has seen his confidence suffer a hefty blow.
Paunovic told Marca: "We all hoped to see more of Jovic and I think he's had enough time to adapt.
"But I still have a lot of confidence in him."
Paunovic added on what Zidane needs to do in order to bring the best out of a forward that was one of European football’s most sought-after talents 12 months ago: "He [Zidane] has taken good care of Jovic.
"But I think he is missing a veteran to show him how these big teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Atletico Madrid work.
"Jovic has to do his part and find someone to be his mentor.
"The demand at Real Madrid is extreme and you have to be up to it."
Paunovic is not the first ex-Serbia international to question what Jovic is doing to his career and profile in Madrid, with Dragoslav Stepanovic warning the youngster that he is undoing all of his hard work to his point.
He told Kurir: “He is the only man who does one hundred per cent to ruin his career!
“Jovic works against himself. He was lucky that Adi Hutter gave him a shot at Eintracht and then made the biggest transfer in Serbia's history and went to Madrid. I can't believe what the boy is doing to himself.”