The new signing says the pressure is on at Camp Nou after a rare trophyless campaign, with the summer arrivals being told that failure is not an optionIvan Rakitic has revealed Barcelona’s summer signings have been told in no uncertain terms they have to lead the club to silverware in 2014-15.
The Camp Nou side failed to win a major trophy under Gerardo Martino last season, the first time in six seasons they have failed to secure success in either La Liga, Copa Del Rey or Champions League competitions.
Luis Suarez, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo have also joined this summer, while the likes of Gerard Deulofeu and Rafinha return from loan spells to give the squad a fresh look under new coach Luis Enrique.
Rakitic, who arrives from Sevilla after helping Unai Emery’s men to glory in the Europa League, says it has been made clear to the new arrivals that another dry season will not be tolerated.
“I read that Barca have spent more money this year than they have in any other summer transfer window and the very first thing they told me when I arrived was ‘we have to win everything!’ - so I want to be ready," the midfielder told a press conference in Split.
"I keep saying that I am not here to replace anyone, I come to Barca to be Ivan Rakitic. Replacing Xavi? He is still at the club.
“I cannot wait to meet all my team-mates and to be part of a football style everyone is talking about. I want to learn from them all, but I also want to be able to contribute and help them to improve as well.”
Rakitic says he wants to be a versatile option for Luis Enrique to call upon and again moved to dismiss suggestions he was unhappy paying in a deeper role for Croatia at the World Cup.
The Croatia international added: "I have spoken to the coach. Barca play with a 4-3-3 and he told me I can cover all three midfield positions.
“Due to the World Cup there was not a huge amount of time to talk to him, but I have spoken a lot to Andoni Zubizarreta. Midfield is a very important position for them and now I am part of it.
“I trust Niko Kovac and there are no issues over the World Cup. My coach at Sevilla always received the same questions... I think it is funny. I always give my best wherever I play - once for Sevilla I even played right-back!
“The deal was for me to back up the play behind the other midfielders like Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Sammir and that is what I did. It didn't work out and now it is easy to look for a guilty party.
“We are not satisfied with going out of the World Cup so early but now we will clear our heads for the Euro 2016 qualifiers, where we will be powerful. The team is maturing.”
Rakitic will face a La Liga title battle against two international team-mates next season, with Modric playing a key role for Real Madrid and Mario Mandzukic having signed for champions Atletico Madrid.
The Barcelona man explained: “We have been having jokes about it. In last year’s final I cheered for Luka but now I have told him this season you will finish second… and Mandzo will be third!”
The 26-year-old insisted he would miss life with Sevilla and was adamant he had not moved clubs for financial reasons.
“Sevilla was always No.1 for me and when I left, I wanted them to be satisfied with the deal because that club means so much to me,” continued Rakitic.
“Money was not key, I will live the same life with €7 million or just €10. What is important is to make step forward and in Barcelona I will do that."