They took my ball, I feel sad - Rakitic bemoans Barca bench duty

By Sports Desk November 12, 2019

Ivan Rakitic feels like Barcelona have "taken my ball" after being confined to a marginal role at Camp Nou this season.

An influential performer since joining Barca ahead of their treble-winning 2014-15 campaign, Rakitic has been the odd man out this term following the big-money arrival of Netherlands star Frenkie de Jong.

The Croatia midfielder has only started on one of his seven LaLiga appearances, while three Champions League outings have all come from Ernesto Valverde's bench.

Asked about his predicament in an interview with Universo Valdano on Movistar, Rakitic replied: "How can I enjoy it? It's like I've said many times, how does my little daughter feel when you take a toy from her?

"She feels sad. Well, I feel the same. They took my ball. I feel sad."

Rakitic withdrew from Croatia's squad to face Slovakia and Georgia due to an Achilles injury on Tuesday.

Serie A giants Juventus, Inter and AC Milan have all been mentioned as potential January suitors for the 31-year-old, who feels he still has plenty to offer.

"I understand and respect the decisions of the coach or a club or whatever, but I think I've given a lot in these five years and I've been at my peak here," Rakitic added.

"And what I want is to be able to continue enjoying, that is the most important thing for me. I enjoy playing. 

"I'm 31 years old, I'm not 38, and I feel at my best."

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