The Croatian looks to be on his way out of Camp Nou and a move to Los Rojiblancos will be perfect for him at this stage of his career.
In six days Ivan Rakitic will be celebrating his 32nd birthday. On the books of Barcelona for the last six years, the journey seems to coming to a close.
He exchanged UEFA Europa League success with Sevilla for footballing glory. The Croatian has won it all at the Camp Nou. The Champions League, La Liga (x4), Copa del Rey (x4), FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana.
Just like Luka Modric has been instrumental for Real Madrid, Rakitic has been a core reason for Barcelona’s success. Lionel Messi has been the star but the Croatian has been the driving force from the middle of the park.
Waning role at Camp Nou
But not this season.
Ernesto Valverde did not give him enough minutes and the trend has continued under Quique Setien. Rakitic is not an undisputed starter, he is behind Arthur and Frenkie de Jong.
He still has a year left on his contract and it looks likely his circumstances will not change for the better. Although it is to be argued the 31-year-old is perfect for his brand of football. He is not young enough.
A move away looks likely and there are plenty of suitors. And they will give Rakitic more than the 48 minutes average he has manages this season.
Atletico Madrid pursuing
Diego Simeone has been an ardent fan of the Croatian and has been vocal in his praise. That was some years ago and a move to the Spanish capital was never on the cards.
But it is now. After their hard-fought win over Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano, Rakitic met with the Atletico hierarchy. No points for guessing why.
It is a straight forward move. Just like it was for David Villa all those years ago. He was not welcomed at the Camp Nou and Atletico came calling.
For Ivan Rakitic it is the same. The Croatian’s twilight years are still some time away but he needs to start preparing. A move to Atletico makes sense for sporting and financial reasons.
He needs playing time and a last hurrah. Barcelona will not allow that but Atletico Madrid will. A three-year contract at his current wages will be enough to entice him.