Rakitic hits out at Barcelona for trying to force him out

Ivan Rakitic has joined the quickly growing chorus of critics to hit out at Barcelona over a perceived lack of institutional control and direction.

The crux of Rakitic’s gripe is the manner in which he felt he was nearly forced out of the club last summer. When Neymar made it clear he would like to leave Paris Saint-Germain and return to Catalonia, the Barca brass were quick to toss Rakitic’s name into a potential swap deal, though the 32-year-old Croat has now made it abundantly clear he would have never signed off on such a deal.

“I understand the situation but I’m not a sack of potatoes who you can do anything with. I want to be somewhere I feel wanted and respected. If that’s here then I’ll be delighted, but if it’s somewhere else then I’ll be the one who decides where, not anyone else.”

“Last year was the best of the six I’ve had here and I was annoyed with how I was treated. I was very surprised and I didn’t understand it. The results have not been the best and I haven’t played much, that is why I felt hurt.

“I had a very strange first half of the season, it was very uncomfortable and surprising for me. But I hope I can finish this last year of my contract.”

With just one year left on his contract, Rakitic will be 33 when he can move anywhere on a free transfer in the summer of 2021. Following the arrival of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax last summer, Rakitic’s playing time has plummeted from nearly an every-game starter to now starting only 10 of 27 La Liga matches this season.