Rakitic: Barcelona 'perfect' for me

By Sports Desk December 08, 2019

Ivan Rakitic called Barcelona "the perfect place for me" after starting his third successive game in the 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

The Croatia international, 31, appeared destined for the exit door having grown frustrated at a lack of opportunities this season.

He had started just once - in the September loss to Granada - before being given the nod against Borussia Dortmund on November 27.

After impressing in a 3-1 Champions League win, Rakitic kept his place for the LaLiga victories over Atletico Madrid and Mallorca.

Rakitic joined Barcelona from Sevilla in 2014 and has won four league titles and the Copa del Rey on four occasions too, and he has no intention of leaving if he continues to be a first-team regular.

"Lots of things have happened in the last few months," Rakitic said.

"Sometimes, things happen that you can't understand, but you have to accept it.

"It's happened to me. No one gives you anything.

"I want to give my all and if I can play here then I've always said that there's no better place than Barcelona to keep winning trophies, it's the perfect place for me.

"I want to enjoy myself and try to help the team improve. I'm giving my best and if it can be like it has been in the last few games then that's even better.

"I'm here to play and take advantage of the minutes I get to earn the trust of the coach and my team-mates.

"I'm prepared for anything."

Related items

  • Mourinho hits out at Conte as Inter chase Eriksen Mourinho hits out at Conte as Inter chase Eriksen

    Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho hit out at Antonio Conte for speaking publicly about Inter's pursuit of Christian Eriksen.

    Eriksen, 27, is out of contract at Tottenham at the end of the season and has been heavily linked with a move to the Serie A side.

    Mourinho reignited his feud with Conte as speculation continues over Eriksen, criticising the Inter boss for discussing the midfielder publicly.

    Conte is reported to have said: "Eriksen? We have to go to people who have already had a career, who are at the end of their contracts."

    "I think Antonio, I think Antonio. I think it was publicly. He is very positive that Eriksen is coming to Inter," Mourinho told UK newspapers when asked who from Inter had been quoted about the Dane, via The Guardian.

    "We shouldn't speak about players from other clubs until they become our players. You ask me about Gedson [Fernandes] since the moment Gedson's name was on the screen and I told you nothing.

    "You protect everybody. Is it a question of respect? I don't want to give you a headline. That's up to you.

    "If Inter are confident, they are confident because they are ready to make us an offer, which didn't happen yet. So when I see people speaking, especially people with responsibilities, I am a little bit surprised."

    Mourinho coached Inter from 2008 to 2010, leading the club to two Serie A titles and a Champions League crown.

    But the Portuguese tactician said no transfer move would impact his relationship with the club.

    "This is not my Inter. I have no connections with the people [running the club] so I think it's nothing to do with that," Mourinho said.

    "Nothing can change my feeling with Inter. It's not a situation with a player that is going to change my feeling with the club and the fans. No chance."

  • Bruno watch – How reported Man Utd target Fernandes fared in possible Sporting farewell Bruno watch – How reported Man Utd target Fernandes fared in possible Sporting farewell

    Bruno Fernandes is reportedly on the verge of a transfer to Manchester United, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally seems set to bolster his midfield.

    Portugal international Fernandes was heavily linked with both United and Tottenham in the close season, though stayed at Sporting, signing a new deal at the club in November.

    The new contract reportedly set the 25-year-old's buy out clause at €100million, though the fee rumoured to have been agreed between United and Sporting is closer to £50m (€58.6m).

    Reports on Friday suggested United did not want Fernandes to feature in the Lisbon derby against Benfica, but Sporting and the player wanted to give him the chance to bid farewell to the club's supporters in their biggest home match of the season.

    But, amid all of the speculation, just how did the playmaker fare on the pitch as Rafa Silva's late double handed the bragging rights to Benfica?

    5th minute – It was a rather anonymous start for Fernandes, who stalled a promising move from Sporting when he intercepted a heavy touch from team-mate Rafael Camacho, despite being stood in an offside position.

    13th minute – This will certainly have got United fans excited! From inside Sporting's half, the midfielder – who has recorded 13 assists in all competitions this season – played a superbly weighted pass over the top of Benfica's defence, straight into the path of Camacho. The winger got a shot off, but it flashed wide of the right-hand upright.

    38th minute – In what quickly became a scrappy encounter, Fernandes struggled to stamp his quality on proceedings again until seven minutes before half-time, when he picked out Yannick Bolasie with a pass. The Everton loanee was unable to beat Odisseas Vlachodimos, though.

    43rd minute – The build up to this match was all about Fernandes and it seems Benfica's players were in no mood to let it be the Bruno show. He was clattered into by Franco Cervi as the visitors started to give their rivals' captain some rough treatment.

    46th to 50th minute – Friday's encounter had to be paused for five minutes, as a section of Sporting fans threw smoke bombs onto the pitch and set fires in the stands. Fortunately, the stewards got them under control as quickly as possible.

    58th minute – Once the match had restarted, Benfica began targeting Fernandes once more, with Chiquinho receiving a booking for a late lunge which left Sporting's skipper needing treatment on his ankle.

    66th minute – Fernandes also proved his worth from set-pieces, with his cross from a corner finding Idrissa Doumbia, who could not direct his header on target.

    67th minute – With a point to prove, Fernandes almost picked out Luiz Phellype with an incredible diagonal from far out on the right flank. Unfortunately for Sporting, Vlachodimos got there first.

    80th minute – Fernandes can only watch on as Sporting's defence fail to clear their lines not once, but twice, with Benfica substitute Rafa on hand to put the Primeira Liga leaders ahead, though the goal only stood after a long check with VAR.

    97th minute – In the seventh minute of 10 added on due to the earlier disruption, Fernandes is forced deep in an attempt to get Sporting on the front foot, but he is quickly crowded out, with his only option a pass out wide to Marcos Acuna.

    99th minute – Game over, and is that goodbye Fernandes? Rafa steals the show – and the headlines – of this Lisbon derby, setting himself brilliantly with an expert first touch from Haris Seferovic's pass, before prodding a fantastic finish beyond Luis Maximiano. 

    Full-time – The cameras come up close to Fernandes, though he betrays little emotion as he shakes hands with the Benfica players, before heading for the tunnel with his captain's armband unfastened.

  • Chelsea boss Lampard out to avoid 'knee-jerk' transfers in January Chelsea boss Lampard out to avoid 'knee-jerk' transfers in January

    Frank Lampard wants to avoid any "knee-jerk" transfers during this window, though he is open to adding to Chelsea's squad if a suitable player is available.

    Chelsea were unable to sign any players during the off-season, with the club serving a transfer ban.

    Subsequently, Lampard relied on the club's younger players to come through and prove their worth in the first team and, as a result, Mason Mount, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and leading scorer Tammy Abraham have all impressed.

    The transfer ban was initially due to run until the end of the season but was lifted ahead of the January window.

    Lampard, though, is adamant he will not bring in players for the sake of it, with fourth-placed Chelsea sitting five points clear of Manchester United in fifth.

    "I don't want to comment on those deals because I think it's easy with hindsight," Lampard told a news conference when asked about the club's previous January signings that failed to live up to expectations, such as Alexandre Pato and Gonzalo Higuain.

    "The players you mentioned there were top players. I think the idea of January being a time to buy players, it's difficult for everybody – for players coming in, especially if they're coming from a different league, for the club and for the settlement of the group.

    "I think that's why we have to think ultra-carefully, and I do care and consider the club and where we're going. I don't want to make some knee-jerk reaction to say, 'Here's my first big signing'. 

    "No, I want to do the right thing for the club. If I do it, I'll try and consider all things. I will always be in communication with the club."

    Lampard – who also confirmed Ross Barkley will not be leaving Chelsea this month – did acknowledge the Blues shall make additions if all parts of the deal fit, however.

    "Hopefully it's the best thing for us. Whether that's more of a short-term option or a long-term option, we'll also have to consider," Lampard added.

    "I think I should be [prepared for no signings], because that's where we're at, at the moment. If it feels right for us, then we'll do it."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.