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Rakitic Opens Up: From Barça Departure to Saudi League Adventure

Ivan Rakitic / MARCA
Ivan Rakitic / MARCA

Ivan Rakitic spoke to the media reflecting on his Barcelona career and Xavi’s resignation.

Ivan Rakitic has earned the status of a legend after his years at Sevilla and Barcelona. The Croatian player, currently playing for Al Shabab in Saudi Arabia since bidding farewell to Sevilla in the past winter transfer window, has reflected on his first months in the Saudi league and, of course, his past in Spanish football for ‘MARCA’.

Rakitic, who spent six seasons at Barça, left Barcelona in 2020 to return to Sevilla with 333 appearances, 40 goals, and 15 titles in his particular strong trophy cabinet wearing the Blaugrana shirt. Now, four years after his departure, he reflects on his years at Camp Nou and the current state of the club, which he believes has undergone a generational change, affecting him among others, too quickly: “Maybe a little bit. It’s like when you’re a little kid and you have a girlfriend but you don’t pay much attention to her until you lose her. Real Madrid has been able to do everything right, little by little. There are Toni and Luka still leading the team. Maybe Barça has gone too fast. I am convinced that Gavi and Pedri, who have spectacular talent, will be the future of Barça and Spanish football, but I think our help, as they’ve called us the old ones, would have been good for them,” he comments when asked about the Culé team. Beyond the comparisons, the Croatian also had words of affection for the club and his friend, Xavi: “It hurts to see it because Barça has been my home for six years and I have a very, very, very special affection for it. Besides, Xavi is a close friend of mine and seeing him suffer hurts me deeply. Seeing him like this hurts me a lot, but hopefully they can fix it with the results,” he assured in ‘MARCA’.

However, the statement that will ‘hurt’ Barcelona fans the most is not about the state of Barça itself, but the conviction with which Rakitic speaks about the future project of Real Madrid: “I’m not saying this season, but they have done things well to have a solid team base, to dominate for a few years. I speak with the utmost respect because they have been my rival for many years, but seeing what Florentino Pérez is achieving is worthy of applause.”