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Rakitic: Big clubs wanted me but who can leave Barcelona?

16:20 GMT+3 05/09/2018
Ivan Rakitic Philippe Coutinho Barcelona
The Croatia international insists that he would have found it remarkably difficult to leave the club over the summer

Ivan Rakitic insists he was never close to leaving Barcelona, despite receiving offers to do so over the summer.

The Croatia international, so instrumental in his side's run to the World Cup final over the summer, was heavily linked with a move to Ligue 1, with both PSG and Monaco reportedly willing to offer him huge wages.

Manchester United were also linked with the 30-year-old, but he says that he and his wife decided together that he should stay at Camp Nou.

"I read rumors about my transfer from Barcelona, there were offers, some big clubs wanted me but honestly, I spoke to my wife and we made a conclusion that I am happy here and proud to be part of this big club," he told Novi list.

"I've been part of that nice story with Barcelona for some time and it is not time to leave yet. Well, who could find it easy to leave Barcelona?"

Rakitic has won a plethora of trophies at Barca, lifting three La Liga titles, four Copa del Reys and the Champions League.

However, Barca have not won Europe's most prestigious club competition since 2014-15, with Real Madrid establishing a stranglehold on the competition.

Los Blancos have won the last three incarnations of the tournament, and Rakitic is clear on what he thinks should be Barca's main objective this season.

"It is time Barcelona returns to European glory," he added. "Our big aim is to win Champions League."

However, he accepts that it will be difficult to win La Liga, despite Cristiano Ronaldo departing Real for Juventus.

"Everyone thinks it will be easier in La Liga after Ronaldo went to Juve but Real is always Real, with or without Ronaldo," he added.

"They will play a little different, with mix of young and older experienced players. But a lot of it, in Spain and in the Champions League will depend on Barcelona."