Ivan Rakitic, the FC Barcelona midfielder is leaving the club after spending six years and the Croatian gave his final press conference as a Barça player.
Josep Maria Bartomeu addressing Ivan Rakitic: “Good morning, thank you for coming and sharing this special moment with Ivan. I would like to say goodbye to a friend and a player who has been with us for the last six seasons and played 310 games. He is the fourth foreign player with the most appearances for the club and a player who has created history. He has won 13 titles and I remember his goal in Champions League final in Berlin. Ivan has been a crucial player in this winning team and today we bid goodbye to a great player but above all to a great person. I remember in 2014, you said that you came here to make history and you have achieved the feat. Thank you for everything.”
Rakitic: “Thank you very much for the words, ‘presi’. I want to thank you for allowing me to say goodbye to all those people who carry Barça in their hearts. It has been six years since I joined, it has been my home, we have always felt spectacular, the city and the people gave us the warmth that we wanted to feel and what I prefer the most is the human part that I wanted to leave here. Then we are footballers and we try to do our best. Winning all those titles has been a unique experience.”
“I want to thank everyone who has made it possible. The president, Zubizarreta, Raúl Sanllehí. I am grateful to all the coaches, staffs, physios, with the entire board, I have always felt the warmth. When I said goodbye to the team this morning, it was a very special moment. When I said goodbye in the dining room, the chef started to cry and that means a lot to me. It is what I wanted to convey as a person.”
“I hope that the culés have been able to enjoy and fight with me in these six years, where there have been beautiful moments and others not so beautiful. I also want to thank the fans, who are always there. And I also want to take the opportunity to say goodbye to Juan Carlos Unzué, who has been very important in the dressing room. I thank him for the treatment he has given me, a very special person. You will always have a great supporter of me and my whole family. “
Your favourite moment in the Barça shirt?
“It is difficult to pick a single moment. It is the team with which I have spent the most seasons and in these six years, there have been very beautiful moments. If I have to choose one it is the day of Berlin but also that of Japan. The Super Cup, every league that we have conquered. I remember my first title, the Copa del Rey. I am very happy and proud of everything I have achieved and what I have been able to convey.”
About the last game.
“I don’t want to think about the last game against Bayern. We know what happened and we are the first ones to criticize ourselves but there have been many moments in the past when we have been on the other side. It is a moment of reflection, of analyzing many things but also to congratulate the other team. It makes me sad that I couldn’t be in that last game. Those of you who know me know that I always want to play and it makes me angry that I couldn’t fight.”
On his negotiation with Sevilla.
“I will always be very grateful to Barça and also to the president for everything. They know that I have a special bond with Sevilla, where I will live a very special stage but there will be time to talk about that tomorrow. Today my topic is Barça and I have spent wonderful years here. The important thing was to get the best for all three parties and we have achieved it.”
About Lionel Messi.
“I don’t know what Messi or other players are going to do, you should ask them. I have spoken with the board and we have all been satisfied. And I am convinced that each one will do their analysis and do what is best for all parties.”
On lack of trophies in recent seasons.
“In recent seasons we have been close to winning again like in 2015. Football has no rules and things have happened to us without explanation, sometimes it has been a matter of small details. I am convinced that this will be turned around and I wish Barça good luck. I am convinced that the titles will arrive again.”
About the status of the club currently.
“Barça is the biggest club in the world and it has not changed. What many teammates transmit to me is that Barça is Barça. It is a dream for every player to arrive at Barça and understand the difficulty of staying for many years. Football is complicated and it is not easy to get so many titles each year. Barça has achieved the respect of the world of football and that will continue like this.”
On his last years and offers from other clubs:
“I would not say that the last two years have been bad. For me my best year has been my penultimate year, despite the stain from Liverpool, it is when I have enjoyed the most being an integral member. It is my best season. Then those games pass and they leave us sore. We have always talked about the offers, the board knows me and we have always been very direct. The important thing has always been to get to a good point for all parties. The moment has not come before, it has arrived now. There is no better place than Barça to be.”
On him leaving.
“No, I understand how the football business works, what I mean with the “sack full of potatoes” comment is that I am a person that’s open for dialogue, and that’s what we have done. I am very grateful for my treatment throughout all these years, and there is no remorse or backlash to this club. My happiness of being a part of this experience is too strong, and beautiful that is what I am taking from all of this”
On how he would like to be remembered.
“The most important thing is that the Catalans stay with the image of a very humble, normal Rakitic, that transmits closeness and there was no better way to get up and know that after coffee I had to go to the Ciutat Esportiva to train and give my 100%, from the first day until today.”
On the performance on the end of the season.
“All the post-lockdown games have been very tough. It was not easy to play in the empty stadiums, without the support of your fans and all the games have been pushed to the limit. We were unlucky to draw in Vigo, but then the little details with those draws, the League escaped us. Madrid were also lucky to win 4 or 5 games with a penalty and 1-0.”
About his teammates and managers.
“I am grateful to all the coaches. To Luis Enrique, who made my arrival possible, I have also enjoyed Ernesto and Quique and I am very grateful for every moment and all the details they have taught me. The teammates have been the best. If I have to choose one or two, I want to stay with Andrés or Xavi. Living with them on a day-to-day basis has been wonderful and I am very grateful to Xavi and Andrés for helping me on and off the field. The year with Xavi was very important to me and then with Andrés, he is one of the best friends that my sporting life has given me, so I am very happy.”
On whether he will celebrate a goal against Barça.
“My respect for Barça is maximum and of course I would not celebrate a goal. I will follow everything that happens here very closely and if the moment comes I would not celebrate a goal because I carry Barça in my heart.”
On his decision to leave and whether he regrets anything.
“I felt that it was my moment to move and not the coach’s message. I had the great illusion of taking the step to Seville. I know that everything can always be done better. If later someone believes that I have done something wrong I am truly sorry because my intentions have always been the most positive. I have always done everything with good intention and never disrespectful. I am grateful to this club and I always carry it with me. “
On Messi’s future.
“The first option and the best option for all the players is always Barça. Then each player has to make their decision. For me, the first option would always be Barça.”
About his departure.
“I always analyze all things. Until the last day, I was very involved with the team and when it was time to disconnect was when I made the decision.”
With what feelings he leaves Barça with.
“I am very proud of all these years in Barcelona. After 310 games in the best club in the world, after winning 13 titles. After six years it has not been easy to leave. I am very grateful for everything. I do not like to talk about the end of an era. I think every player has to think about the moment to leave and that moment has come to me, nothing more. I feel very proud, happy and grateful to all the members and fans of Barça.”
“I respect the decision of all the players and I have already said that each one has to make their own. Above all I respect Barça, it’s part of my life and my heart and I think it was the time to take the next step. Each player must do what they think is best for them.”