El Centrocampista

Rakitic in Spanish Switch

Lionel Messi vs Ivan Rakitic

Despite his team falling at the group stages, Croatia’s midfield maestro Ivan Rakitic has been one of the standout performers of this World Cup so far.

And signs are good for fans of Barcelona, that he can carry this form onto the La Liga season.

The midfielder has joined the Catalans on a five-year deal from Sevilla as the former La Liga champions look for a fresh start since Tata Martino’s departure as manager; and to also compensate for the loss of attacking midfielder Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea.

Despite a disappointing World Cup for Rakitic and his fellow Croatian’s, his move to Barcelona has followed what has been a very impressive 2013/14 campaign in Andalucia Last season saw the former Sevilla captain and midfielder contribute 15 goals and 17 assists, as well as lifting the Europa League Title – as skipper – in Turin, after a penalties victory over Portugese counterparts Benfica.

Overall, the 26-year old has racked up 149 appearances for Sevilla scoring 32 goals which makes last season his most prolific yet and his new club Barcelona will be hoping he can emulate that kind of form in the upcoming La Liga season. Rakitic also has an impressive return when representing Croatia at international level, despite being Swiss-Born. He has notched up 65 caps and provided 9 competitive goals on this specific stage of football.

Ivan Rakitic is also the first notable signing of new Barcelona manager Luis Enrique, a former Real Madrid and Barcelona player who lead Celta Vigo to a ninth place finish in La Liga last season. Rakitic would seem a perfect fit for Barcelona as he is a versatile midfield player; he is arguably at his best further up the pitch in a number ten role but that spot will be hard to wrestle from the grasps of a certain Lionel Messi.

However, this could lead to him playing his international role, a deep-lying midfielder with the mind set of keeping possession which is a fundamental attribute of the current Barcelona team.

Luis Enrique will be hoping that Rakitic will be a key feature of his Barcelona style next season. The manager will have aspirations that the Croatian’s goals from midfield, calmness on the ball and immaculate passing range will help the Catalans’ regain the La Liga title from the grasps of Atletico Madrid and El Clasico rivals Real Madrid.

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