Ivan Rakitic Opens Up About Tough Time at Barcelona

Daniela Rogulj

November 13, 2019 – Croatia national team player Ivan Rakitic opened up about the tough times at Barcelona and losing his place in the starting lineup after five years at the club.

“They took my ball. I am sad,” he said in an interview that will be released Thursday on Spanish TV Movistar. 

Coach Ernesto Valverde has left Rakitic on the bench in his last two championship games against Levante and Celta Vigo. He has appeared in ten games this season, playing just 255 minutes, which is the least by minute among Barcelona’s seven midfielders.

“I understand and respect the decisions of the coach, the club, or anyone. I have given a lot during these five years at Barcelona and I want to continue to enjoy it. I’m 31, not 38, so I feel I’m at my best,” said Rakitic.

He said he was hit emotionally by being losing his place in the squad because he had been a member of the starting line-up since joining the club.

“How does my younger daughter feel when you take away her toy? She’s sad. I feel the same way. They took my ball away, so I’m sad,” said the Croatian midfielder.

Rakitic has been Barcelona’s most used player since Ernesto Valverde took over the team in the summer of 2017, and has won the Spanish Championship twice during those two seasons. But since the start of this season, Rakitic has only been in the starting lineup once –  and Valverde didn’t even include him in the player list for one of the games. 

“I like to show my feelings. When you need to cry, that is okay. When I need to celebrate, I celebrate, like winning the silver medal with Croatia at the 2018 World Cup,” he noted.

Valverde said last month that he had more midfielders this season than in previous seasons, and the Barcelona administration has not yet revealed anything about the situation with Rakitic, who has a contract until the summer of 2021.

Last summer, Barcelona brought in 22-year-old midfielder Frankie de Jong from Ajax for €75 million, who has played the most minutes among the midfielders in 16 games so far.

Rakitic returned to Barcelona from Zagreb on Monday after attending the national team reunion. Doctors of the Croatia national team examined him and found that due to pain in his Achilles tendon, he could not play against Slovakia in the last qualifying match for the European Championships on Saturday. A source close to Rakitic said that he traveled from Barcelona to Zagreb with the pain already. 

After returning to the club, he was examined by Barcelona doctors on Tuesday, who confirmed the issue with his Achilles tendon. It is not yet known when he will be back on the pitch. 

Rakitic practiced separately from teammates at Barcelona’s camp on Tuesday and was not included in the player list for a humanitarian friendly match that Barcelona will play on Wednesday in the southern city of Cartagena.

Translated from HRT

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page. 


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