Barcelona midfield mainstay Ivan Rakitic has quashed rumours linking him with an exit from Camp Nou in this summer transfer window.
In a recent interview, as reported by Spanish publication MARCA, Barcelona superstar Ivan Rakitic has confirmed that he will not be leaving the La Liga champions in the summer window, putting an end to the speculations linking him with an exit.
Rakitic has been with Barcelona for five years now, having joined from fellow La Liga outfit Sevilla in 2014 and has grown into one of the best players in his position in the world. The 31-year-old has racked up 268 appearances for the Catalans, netting 34 goals and assisting 37 more, on his way to winning four La Liga titles and a UEFA Champions League trophy.
The last season saw Rakitic miss just six of Barcelona’s sixty matches across all competitions, bagging 5 goals and setting up 10 more for his teammates. However, his future had become a subject of intense transfer speculation following the signing of Dutch sensation Frenkie de Jong from Ajax.
With Sergio Busquets a guaranteed starter in Ernesto Valverde’s side and de Jong likely to occupy another spot in the middle of the park, Rakitic will have to compete with the likes of Arthur Melo, Arturo Vidal, Sergi Roberto along with academy products Carles Alena and Riqui Puig for the third midfield slot.
Rakitic’s situation at Barcelona had led to serious interest from Premier League giants Manchester United. The Red Devils are in the market for additions in the midfield department and were reported to be keen on signing the Croatian international in the summer window.
However, Rakitic has quashed all rumours of a possible exit from Camp Nou in the ongoing window, claiming that he plans to stay at Barcelona and fight for his spot in Valverde’s team. Speaking ahead of the Catalans’ pre-season clash against Chelsea the midfielder said, as quoted by MARCA:
“My plan is to continue with Barcelona. It’s a situation that I’m used to since I signed here, as last year the same thing happened to me. I talked to the club and the coach, but my intention is very clear. I want to continue and continue enjoying my football because I have more years left on my contract.
“In a way, I’m proud that other teams ask about me because it means I’m doing the right things. The only thing I see is Barcelona, everything else has to be taken calmly. Here you have to work and whoever performs is the one who plays. I will work hard so that the coach can count on me. I want to give the absolute best of myself, but the important thing is that we’re a strong group.”
Rakitic still has two years left on his current contract with Barcelona. And judging by his statements, he seems certain to stay put with the La Liga champions, at least for the upcoming campaign.
Barcelona began their pre-season with a 2-1 defeat to Premier League side Chelsea, with Rakitic featuring for 45 minutes and scoring the Catalans’ only goal. They will be taking on Vissel Kobe this weekend and will be looking to pick up a victory against the Japanese outfit.