Former Barcelona star identifies one missing ingredient in the current team


RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - FEBRUARY 25: Ivan Rakitic Battling for the ball during the Saudi Pro League match between Al-Shabab and Al-Nassr at Al-Shabab Club Stadium on February 25, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

The FC Barcelona team has undergone a complete overhaul in the last few years. Barring Ter Stegen and Sergi Roberto, there is no other player in the current team who was a part of the squad that won the last Champions League title with Barcelona in 2015.

But one of the players that Culers will clearly remember from that time is the Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian joined the Catalan club from Sevilla in 2014 and won the treble in his very first season with Barcelona.

He won several other trophies with the Blaugranes in his six-year spell but returned to Sevilla in 2020 after he saw his playing time drop significantly following the arrival of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax.

Now playing for the Saudi side Al-Shabab, the midfielder still holds Barcelona dear to his heart and commented on the state of affairs at his former club in a recent interview with MARCA. Comparing how Real Madrid and Barcelona are approaching their young and experienced players, the midfielder stated:

“It’s a little bit like when you’re a little kid and you have a girlfriend but you don’t pay much attention to her, and then you don’t realize it until you lose her. Real Madrid has been able to do everything right, little by little.”

“There are Toni and Luca still leading the team. Barcelona might have gone too fast. I’m convinced that Gavi and Pedri, who have spectacular talent, will be the future of Barcelona and Spanish football, but I think our help, as they’ve called us the old guys, would have been good for them.”

“I’m sure all those boys like Bellingham and company appreciate the daily learning they get from them. It hurts to see it because Barcelona has been my home for six years, and I have a very, very special affection for it.”

Rakitic also mentioned how much affection he has for Xavi, and how he was saddened by the experiences that his former teammate had to go through this season:

“Besides, Xavi is a close friend of mine, and seeing him suffer hurts me to the core. Seeing him like this hurts me a lot, but I hope they can fix it with the results, which aren’t as bad as they seem, but especially in a project, everything that happens around it, the money…”

Rakitic might have a point in regards to the way in which Real Madrid and Barcelona have approached their players. Guidance from experienced players is essential for young players to grow.

However, this is not to say that the youngsters at Barcelona are not receiving it from some highly experienced footballers like Ilkay Gundogan and Robert Lewandowski in their own squad.

Still, this is an interesting point from Rakitic, and what would ultimately matter most for Barcelona fans is to see their former star still caring for the club even after saying his goodbyes several years ago.

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari has been covering Spanish football as a writer for Barca News Network for the last one and a half year and as an amateur football fanatic for more than 10 years. He mainly covers on and off-field happenings taking place at Barcelona including transfer news, administrative changes, match reports, and any other eventful news coming out of the club.

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