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'I feel sad' - Rakitic complains about being benched at Barcelona

11:21 PM WAT 12/11/2019
Ivan Rakitic Barcelona
Nine of the Croatian's 10 appearances this season have come as a substitute but the midfielder feels he has much to offer

Ivan Rakitic feels like Barcelona "took my ball" after being confined to a marginal role at Camp Nou this season.

An influential performer since joining Barca ahead of their treble-winning 2014-15 campaign, Rakitic has been the odd man out this term following the big-money arrival of Netherlands star Frenkie de Jong.

The Croatia midfielder has only started on one of his seven La Liga appearances, while three Champions League outings have all come from Ernesto Valverde's bench.

Asked about his predicament in an interview with Universo Valdano on Movistar, Rakitic replied: "How can I enjoy it? It's like I've said many times, how does my little daughter feel when you take a toy from her?

"She feels sad. Well, I feel the same. They took my ball. I feel sad."

Rakitic withdrew from Croatia's squad to face Slovakia and Georgia due to an Achilles injury, returning to Barcelona for treatment on Tuesday.

Serie A giants Juventus, Inter and AC Milan have all been mentioned as potential January suitors for the 31-year-old, who feels he still has plenty to offer.

"I understand and respect the decisions of the coach or a club or whatever, but I think I've given a lot in these five years and I've been at my peak here," Rakitic added.

"And what I want is to be able to continue enjoying playing, that is the most important thing for me. I enjoy playing. 

"I'm 31 years old, I'm not 38, and I feel at my best."

Rakitic has won 13 trophies at Barcelona, including a Champions League, four La Liga titles and the Copa del Rey four times.

He began his senior career at Switzerland's FC Basel in 2005 after coming through their youth ranks and played there for two seasons before moving on to Schalke in the Bundesliga.

Rakitic came of age four years later following a transfer to Sevilla in 2011, where he would eventually become club captain and help the club win the 2013-14 Europa League against Benfica in Turin.

This was his final act for Sevilla before earning a move to Barca just prior to the 2014 World Cup.