Rakitic: Modric like a brother to me

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The Croatian midfielders have developed a close bond in recent years, while the Barcelona star had a lot of praise for Sergio Busquets as well

Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric may be on the opposing sides of the Clasico divide, but the Barcelona midfielder feels nothing but brotherly love for his Real Madrid counterpart.

Modric's performances for Madrid and Croatia this year have seen him named the winner of the Goal 50 and FIFA's The Best, while he is in the frame to win the Ballon d'Or, too.

Although Barca star Rakitic watched on as his side's biggest rivals went on to lift a third consecutive Champions League crown, he is happy to see his national team-mate take the plaudits after helping Croatia to the World Cup final in Russia.

"Luka is like my brother," Rakitic told Jutarnji. "All the awards he has won this year, it's like I'm receiving them. We've all done this together."

Modric is not the only midfielder Rakitic is thrilled to feature alongside, though, as he expressed his admiration for Barcelona team-mate Sergio Busquets, too.

"If you ask me about Busquets, it's actually a great honour to play together with him," he added. "We get along great on the pitch and off of it because Sergio is an extraordinary character. 

"I always want to have the best players next to me, so I'm happy when Sergio is by my side. When you know he is on the field with you or behind you, you automatically lower the handbrake and feel more secure. 

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"It is difficult for him to know because he knows that he is smart, tricky and reads the game really well. He is a quiet team leader."

It has not all been easy for the 30-year-old recently. The ex-Sevilla star found out he is gluten intolerant, but is feeling the benefits since changing his diet.

"I have a gluten intolerance. It's been two years since I discovered it and after that I had to completely change my diet," he added. "It wasn't easy, at first it was embarrassing, and now it is slowly becoming a habit. I eat lots of vegetables and fish, I feel much lighter and quicker on the pitch."

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