Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has revealed that he came "very close" to being caught up in August's terrorist attacks in Catalonia.
Over 130 people were injured and 13 people were killed when a terrorist drove a van into pedestrians on La Rambla in Barcelona city centre, while a woman was killed and six more people were injured during a follow-up attack in nearby Cambrils.
Three days of mourning followed the attack, with Barcelona honouring the victims during their La Liga opener with Real Betis with a minute's silence and special one-off jerseys which were inscribed with #TotsSomBarcelona and did not include player names on the back.
However, the attack could have affected the club even more significantly as 29-year-old midfielder Rakitic was almost at the scene where the incident happened in the heart of Barcelona. The Croatian was nearby with his family and had planned to go to La Rambla before his wife decided to take the children to the park instead.
"During recent terrorist attack in Barcelona I was very close," Rakitic told Goal.
"I went downtown with my family and we prepared to go to that place the attack happened. I wanted to go there but my wife said it was a nice day and to let the kids play in the park outside our house. Thank God I listened to her.
"We were three or four minutes away from going there. And as soon as people heard of the attack, many friends and family started to call me to check how we were."
Before he joined Barcelona in 2014, Rakitic and wife Raquel Mauri ran a restaurant in Seville called Dinain Tapas & Copas, but was forced to close it due to its proximity to Real Betis' Benito Villamarin stadium. Despite his love of cooking, the Croat has no immediate plans to open a new establishment in Barcelona, where he is often inundated by fan requests.
"I like to cook, both Croatian and Spanish specialities," the Europa League and Champions League winner admitted.
"Yes, I opened a restaurant in Sevilla, but I don't plan to do it in Barcelona, I have no time. But, maybe someday.
"Sometimes we avoid going downtown because FC Barcelona is everything for people here so it is impossible to 'defend yourself' from the fans. Photos, autographs... everywhere."