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Rakitic: I'm not Xavi

The Croatia international is flattered that he has been called the Spaniard's successor at Barcelona but insisted that no player can replace the 34-year-old at the Camp Nou.

Ivan Rakitic has welcomed comparisons to Barcelona stalwart Xavi but insists it will be difficult for any player to replace the Spain international at Camp Nou.

The 26-year-old midfielder joined Barca from Sevilla earlier this summer, with some suggesting that the Croatia international could be the perfect successor to the iconic midfielder.

Despite being linked with a move away from Camp Nou this summer, Xavi has been named captain of the Blaugrana this term after 16 seasons at the club, in which time the 34-year-old has won seven Liga titles and three Champions League crowns.

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Rakitic has admitted that, while such comparisons to Xavi are flattering, he is focused on cementing his own name as a fan favorite at the club he "always" wanted to join.

"It's nice that people are saying that I am the successor of Xavi, but I'm Rakitic. Replacements for such a great player like Xavi don't exist," he told Sportske novosti. "I can't wait to start the Primera [Liga]. We worked a lot and I hope that this will show on the field. Barcelona are powerful again.

"I always wanted to join Barcelona. It was my desire."

Rakitic also revealed Lionel Messi has helped him to adjust to life in Catalunya.

"Messi is no different from the others. He is very helpful. He offered me his assistance in finding an apartment or house in Barcelona," Rakitic says.

Barcelona kicks off the new league campaign at home to Elche on Sunday.