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'I want to play' - Rakitic hints at Barcelona departure if game time doesn't continue

04:12 GMT 02/12/2019
Ivan Rakitic Barcelona 2019-20
The Croatian midfielder wants to stay at Camp Nou, as long as he is still getting on to the pitch consistently

Ivan Rakitic is confused by his position at Barcelona, saying he wanted more game time and there was 'no better place' than the being on the books of La Liga giants.

The Croatia international made just his second league start of the season and first since September in Sunday's 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid.

Rakitic, who has been at Barca since 2014, said he wanted to remain at Camp Nou, if he is getting game time consistently.

"I do not understand the situation because I want to play. If I can play, there is no better place than Barca," he said, via Marca. 

"I want to enjoy every day and if it can be here, much better."

Rakitic has won four La Liga titles and a Champions League since joining Barcelona from Sevilla.

The 31-year-old said in November it felt like Barca had taken his ball away, but the midfielder is eager to start delivering for the club again.

"I said that the ball had been taken from me to imply how much I like football," Rakitic said.

"But if I can play, there is no better place than Barca. What I want to do is enjoy, doing my best because I still have a lot to give.

"I have the confidence of my team-mates and if the coach puts me in, I understand that it will also be like that."

Ernesto Valverdes's side were indebted to goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for two breath-taking saves in the first half.

Atletico went close to opening the scoring in a lively first half when Mario Hermoso struck a low angled shot against the post.

The home side were then twice denied by the inspirational Ter Stegen. The German first blocked an instinctive Hermoso effort from close range, then managed to somehow keep Alvaro Morata's powerful header out.

Barca rarely threatened before the half-time, although Gerard Pique's had nodded against the crossbar.

The visitors improved slightly after the break, although Luis Suarez and Messi struggled to find a way past a disciplined and organised Atletico defence.

Pique was fortunate not to be shown a second yellow card for a callous sliding foul on Morata with 20 minutes left and the game appeared set to end in a goalless draw.

However, with four minutes left on the clock Messi delivered after a lightning quick move on the edge of the Atletico penalty area.

The Argentina forward received the ball from Suarez and emphatically curled a low shot past Jan Oblak to seal the win.