Former Croatia star Robert Prosinecki says talk of Ivan Rakitic being pushed towards a Barcelona exit is simply part of football.

Rakitic has enjoyed huge success at Camp Nou since joining from Sevilla in 2014, winning 13 major trophies including four LaLiga titles and the treble in his first season.

There have been reports for many months that Rakitic's time at the club is coming to a close, though, with Barca said to be keen to sell him as part of a squad rebuild.

The 32-year-old has been linked with Juventus as part of an exchange deal for Miralem Pjanic, while Inter and old club Sevilla are also rumoured to be interested.

The midfielder has made it clear he does not want to leave and has encouraged Barca officials to speak with him directly about his future.

The apparent stand-off seems far from being resolved, but Prosinecki does not think it to be an especially unusual situation, with compatriot Luka Modric also having had his future at Real Madrid called into question as he turns 35 this year.

"I think both players have done great things at Barcelona and Real Madrid," Prosinecki told Stats Perform News.

"Luka has played many years for Real Madrid and he has won three Champions League titles. He won everything you can win. He has performed at a high level during many seasons regardless of what is happening next. Surely, he can still play at a very good level.

"Same for Rakitic. According to what I read – I haven't spoken to him – Barcelona want him to leave in order to implement some changes. That's football. They are both great players of Croatia. The best ones."

LaLiga teams have resumed training in small groups this week as part of proposed plans to get the 2019-20 competition back underway next month.

The league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic with Barcelona two points ahead of Madrid at the top of the table with 11 games left.

Prosinecki, who played for both clubs, expects an intriguing end to the season if it resumes.

"We will see now after this long two-month pause of how it is going to go," he said. "Which team is fitter than the other, who has been more affected by coronavirus in these two months.

"I believe it is going to be very competitive until the end. Real Madrid have had a big chance to finish La Liga five,six games earlier as they had a big gap. Now, Barcelona are there.

"It is very difficult to predict. It will be very equal until the end. I think Barcelona are ahead, so they are the favourites."

Lionel Messi plays "different football to the others" and outranks Diego Maradona, Brazilian great Ronaldo and even US basketball superstar Michael Jordan in the sporting pantheon, according to Robert Prosinecki.

Barcelona and Argentina maestro Messi is "surely" the best footballer of all time, former Real Madrid and Barca playmaker Prosinecki claimed.

Prosinecki said in an interview with Stats Perform News that Messi, who has scored over 600 goals for Barcelona, still finishes top of the pile when the career of Chicago Bulls legend and six-time NBA champion Jordan is taken into account.

"It is different, basketball and football. But Messi is surely for me the best," said Prosinecki.

"He is a player who has made differences for many years in Barcelona. He has won everything he could win. He scored many goals and assisted many times too. He plays different football to the others."

Former Croatia midfield marauder Prosinecki knows some still look to Messi's fellow Argentinian Maradona when judging the greats, as well as two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo.

Prosinecki and Ronaldo were briefly team-mates at Camp Nou.

"Maybe some people will say Maradona, Ronaldo... I don't know," Prosinecki said. "There have been amazing players. They are from two different eras. For me he [Messi] is the best one."

According to Prosinecki's verdict, Messi and Brazilian Ronaldo are players that have shown themselves capable and willing to take on teams single-handedly.

"They are different to others. Ronaldo is surely one of the best," Prosinecki said.

"Some people would say Cristiano Ronaldo, but [Brazilian Ronaldo] didn't just play at Barcelona.

"He also had some amazing seasons at Inter. He used to beat rivals almost himself alone. Incredible. They are players who make differences. At Real Madrid too. Where didn't he perform?

"For sure he was a great player. However, if I have to say one, for me the best is Leo Messi."

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