Barcelona legend Rivaldo has advised Ivan Rakitic to stay put rather than spend the remainder of his peak years at Manchester United.
31-year-old Rakitic has been frequently linked with a move away from Barcelona to either Inter Milan or United.
The summer arrival of Ajax playmaker Frenkie de Jong has only fueled rumours surrounding Rakitic’s future. It’s been speculated the Dutchman will take his spot in the Barcelona midfield.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty, however, the Croatia international has thrived at Camp Nou again this season. In fact, he started 53 times in his 54 appearances and played a total of 4,237 minutes of football.
Therefore, Rivaldo can’t see the logic in a “great player” like Rakitic swapping Barcelona for United given the English club’s current circumstances.
“There are rumours circulating about Ivan Rakitic possibly going to Manchester United,” he told Betfair.
“But, while United are a big club with great tradition, I think the Croatian still has enough football to keep playing for Barcelona, as he is a great player.
“United are passing through a bad moment, but their tradition is huge and any big player would like to play for them at Old Trafford.
“Now, it’s time for them to refocus and start preparing for the new season.
“I believe they’ll always be one of the best teams in the world. They continue to be financially healthy, so they should have tools to recruit big players soon.”
Ferguson wanted the Brazilian icon at United
The World Cup winner himself spent his best days at Barcelona from 1997 to 2002.
Rivaldo provided 133 goals and 41 assists in 238 appearances at Catalonia on route to two La Ligas, a UEFA Super Cup and the Copa del Rey.
The former attacking midfielder’s strong performances eventually crowned him the 1999 Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year.
Now Rivaldo revealed that the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him to join United.
“Liverpool and Manchester City are the strongest teams in England right now and are both playing excellent football. So, if I were playing today, and had the chance to go to the Premier League, one of them would probably be my choice,” he continued.
“But there are more powerful teams in the Premier League than in any other league. It’s the strongest league in the world right now.
“When I was playing for Barcelona, I had some agents trying to transfer me to Manchester United, but I was so happy with the city and the club at Barcelona that I didn’t pay much attention to that possibility.
“It wasn’t out of disrespect to United, I just didn’t want to move at that time. I’m not sure if there was any proposal. There were just discussions with agents and rumours, nothing more than that.”
Rivaldo also played for AC Milan, Olympiacos and Sao Paulo before retiring in 2015.