Juventus-linked Rakitic out of Croatia squad as Kovacic suffers injury

By Sports Desk September 02, 2019

Ivan Rakitic pulled out of the Croatia squad over uncertainty about his Barcelona future, Zlatko Dalic has confirmed.

Croatia's head coach revealed rumoured Juventus target Rakitic would not be able to focus on the national team until his club situation is resolved.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde has only used Rakitic, who was reportedly offered to Paris Saint-Germain in a proposed deal for Neymar, for 44 minutes over the course of the club's three LaLiga matches this season.

Serie A champions Juve are thought to be interested and the Italian giants have until 20:00 local time (19:00 BST) Monday to finalise a deal before the transfer window shuts.

"I talked to Rakitic, who has not yet resolved his status at the club and is not ready for the national team at the moment and would not be able to give his maximum," Dalic told a news conference.

"I do not have time now to deal with what will happen in the future. Hopefully it will work out for the best."

Rakitic is not the only Croatia midfielder unavailable for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Azerbaijan.

Vatreni medical staff assessed Mateo Kovacic following his arrival in camp and diagnosed the Chelsea player with an inflamed Achilles tendon in his right leg.

The 25-year-old played 83 minutes of Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw against Sheffield United.

Mijo Caktas replaces Kovacic in the squad, while Marko Rog is in for Rakitic.

Croatia, World Cup finalists in 2018, sit third in Group E with six points from three games.

Related items

  • FIFA 20: Aguero & Ibrahimovic included in first Ultimate Scream pack FIFA 20: Aguero & Ibrahimovic included in first Ultimate Scream pack

    Sergio Aguero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been included in FIFA 20's first Ultimate Scream pack ahead of Halloween.

    EA Sports announced the release of the FIFA Ultimate Team cards on Friday, with Manchester City striker Aguero and LA Galaxy star Ibrahimovic among the standout names.

    Top-rated Aguero is joined in the first batch by fellow Premier League players Dele Alli, Nicolas Otamendi and Bernard, with a second group of players to be released next Friday.

    Below, we have the list of FUT cards that are up for grabs.

    FUT Ultimate Scream pack

    LM: Bernard (Everton) - 84

    CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) - 85

    LM: Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund) - 85

    CAM: Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) - 85

    CB: Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan) - 86

    CDM: William Carvalho (Real Betis) - 86

    CAM: Dele Alli (Tottenham) - 87

    CAM: James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) - 88

    CAM: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) - 88

    ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) - 88

    ST: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) - 91

  • Guardiola to send Man City players 'to the fridge' in bid to stay fresh during busy December Guardiola to send Man City players 'to the fridge' in bid to stay fresh during busy December

    Pep Guardiola has a plan to make sure his Manchester City players cope with playing twice in less than 48 hours in December: "Go home, open the fridge and get inside."

    The reigning champions have been dealt a tricky hand over the festive period following fixture changes for live television coverage, with their trip to Wolves now starting at 19:45 local time on December 27.

    They then welcome Sheffield United to the Etihad Stadium on December 29, that game kicking off at 18:00, before a home match against Everton on January 1, 2020.

    Asked what he can do to combat such a quick turnaround between travelling to Molineux and hosting the Blades before the turn of the year, Guardiola replied: "Players to the fridge. I'm not joking.

    "Go home, open the fridge and get inside for 48 hours. See you at the Etihad Stadium [on December 29].

    "When I open the fridge to make an omelette, maybe I can talk with my players. But apart from that, no way.

    "It happened in my first season here. I think we played on December 31 at Anfield and then at home against Burnley [on January 2]."

    Before needing to be concerned about Christmas plans, however, Guardiola and his squad must focus on closing the gap to a red-hot Liverpool side in the coming weeks.

    After missing out by a solitary point in a thrilling title race in 2018-19, Jurgen Klopp's Reds have started the new Premier League season with eight successive wins.

    City, in contrast, have suffered defeats to Norwich City and Wolves to sit eight points off the pace in second. However, Guardiola understands there is still a long way to go, particularly with Aymeric Laporte set to bolster the squad with a return from a knee injury early in 2020.

    "For 11 years, no team in England has won back-to-back [titles]. It is difficult, of course it is," the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss told the media ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

    "But you have a rival that is unstoppable right now. Eight games, eight wins. We lost games, but in Spain the big clubs lost games, in Italy the big clubs lost games, here we are facing one team who are champions of Europe and didn't lose one game.

    "It's difficult. In some games we could win but we didn't win. Our mistakes punished us a lot. During the season there are ups and downs. We try to get better and improve.

    "From tomorrow [Saturday] and in the Champions League, we try to make an incredible step forward, to win the game against Atalanta [on Tuesday], then in February Laporte will be back, most of the players will be back.

    "We will see what happens in the later stages. Normally, when you win what we have won the last two seasons and you arrive in March and April being there, after that it's more difficult to drop points. But, in the earliest stages of the season, sometimes it's normal."

  • Nice 1-4 PSG: Mbappe stars on return as leaders see off nine-man opponents Nice 1-4 PSG: Mbappe stars on return as leaders see off nine-man opponents

    Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another on his return to action as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 4-1 win against Nice, who finished Friday's Ligue 1 match with nine men.

    The France forward, who sat out the international break due to a hamstring issue, replaced Pablo Sarabia in the 83rd minute at Allianz Riviera and helped kill off the game after the hosts threatened a comeback.

    Ignatius Ganago pulled one back for Nice with 23 minutes to play following Angel Di Maria's first-half brace, but their momentum was disrupted by red cards for Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Herelle in quick succession.

    Mbappe then marked his comeback with PSG's third and set up Mauro Icardi for a fourth, sending his five points clear of closest challengers Nantes at the summit.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.