Rakitic: It's easy playing with the best players in the world

The Croatia international played down his role in the Catalans' first Primera Division outing of the new season, preferring instead to hail fellow debutant Munir El Haddadi
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic refused to accept any praise for his fine performance in Sunday's Liga win over Elche, arguing that it's easy lining up alongside "the best players in the world".

The Croatia international, who joined the Blaugrana from Sevilla earlier this summer, was selected ahead of Camp Nou icon Xavi and enjoyed a fine debut, setting up Munir El Haddadi for the Catalans' second goal in a 3-0 victory.

However, Rakitic was keen to play down his role in a win that came in spite of Javier Mascherano's first-half dismissal - given that Lionel Messi had stolen the show with his two-goal salvo.

"My role is to work and give the best of myself to get the team wins and titles," the 26-year-old told reporters after the game. "But playing with the best players in the world makes everything easier.

"It was not an easy match, though. The first game is always difficult and even more so if you have to play the entire second half with 10.

"But we have confidence in our football and, despite the difficulties, it finally paid off for us.

"Today has been very good."

Rakitic was also full of praise for fellow debutant Munir, who latched onto the Croat's deflected through ball before coolly flicking the ball home.

"He is a very talented player and should continue to work with the same enthusiasm so that the coach will continue to rely on him in the coming games," the former Schalke man stated.