• Analysis

Ivan Rakitic at crossroads with Barcelona

Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona, La Liga
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The Croatian is unfancied at the Camp Nou by Quique Setien and should depart to better his preparations for Euro 2021.

Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde trusted Ivan Rakitic to handle the business in midfield for Barcelona. It was the Croatian’s brilliance that ensured Andres Iniesta’s absence would not be felt at the Camp Nou.

Rakitic has starred for Blaugrana, being a vital cog in Barcelona’s La Liga successes and the Champions League triumph. However, he is running on fumes over the last couple of years.

The Croatian has made over 51 appearances in the last six campaigns. Add his performances for the Kockasti, and the tally comes to 60 every year. Machines deteriorate and Rakitic is only human.

Age is catching up to him. And no one stays at the top forever with the exception of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rakitic is at a crossroads in his career. At 32, he has to decide what he wants to do next. Should he continue with the Catalans or look for new opportunities?

Leaving Camp Nou

Quique Setien holds the midfielder in high regard. He has given him the minutes on the pitch but does not rule out a transfer in the future.

Setien does not value him enough to put him in the starting eleven every weekend and this is troubling.

Sevilla have been linked with his signature, while Diego Simeone is also keeping tabs. Elsewhere in Italy, Antonio Conte wants him to partner compatriot Marcelo Brozovic in midfield. Manchester United too are in the picture.

With Frenkie de Jong and Artur preferred over him, Rakitic should look for pastures new. Inter Milan look a favorable destination. Playing alongside Brozovic will be good for his preparation for Euro 2021.

England have been tipped as favorites by bookmakers to end their international trophy drought. Croatia made it to the finals of 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia but are no where to be seen.

Interestingly, the European dark horses do not feature amongst the top four sides fancied to lift the continental trophy. While Luka Modric has continued to play at his established high level, Rakitic is having issues at Camp Nou.

With Mario Mandzukic also struggling to get regular action in Serie A and leaving for adventures in Qatar, Croatia are struggling to have their stars in prime conditions for Euro 2021.

Rakitic can change that. He should change it. For himself and all Croatian fans across the globe.