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Ivan Rakitic: ‘We want to win again all the titles’

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Ivan Rakitic: ‘We want to win again all the titles’

The Croat talked with Mundo Deportivo after receiving an award

Ivan Rakitic was awarded this past Monday by Mundo Deportivo as the best sportsman of Barcelona’s first team, due to his dedication and hard-working attitude since his arrival at the Catalan club in 2014. The Croat later gave an interview to MD to talk about his desire to stay with the Blaugranas for many years and the support his wife provides him during this season’s rough patches.

What does this award -which acknowledges your work for the team- mean to you?

First of all, I want to thank Mundo Deportivo for this award, to me it’s a great joy to receive it. It’s important because we’re 23 guys in the first team who are all fighting for the same, to defend the most beautiful jersey in the world the best way we can, by trying to win every title. And to win an award like this one, encourages me to keep working even harder.

I imagine you’re thankful at least there’s an individual award which acknowledges the merits thinking about the team and it hasn’t been won by any of the three up front [Messi, Suárez, Neymar], right?

They’re players of a different quality, out of this world. If you can manage to help them in order to make them a little bit better, then you do it because it’s for the benefit of the entire team. If you have to run 10,000 meters more, you do it. Sometimes it hurts because you have to struggle a bit more and later on your holidays, you still have to train to keep a good shape. But everybody has his role in a team and I want to contribute with mine in order to help the squad. I’d love to dribble like Leo does or to do what Iniesta does, but I arrived to the biggest club to enjoy and win all the titles we can.

Could you be getting harmed by this effort you made for the team during the last weeks when you have been left out in the bench?

I don’t know why I wasn’t playing much, you have to ask the coach that. They are situations that probably you have to go through, but it’s not something pretty and I don’t like it. The coach and all the club staff know really well and they know I work and live to play football, for my teammates and Barça. I want to be always available on the pitch and I don’t like to miss one single training. I understand the coach has to decide and I accept that 100%. My purpose is to work the best way I can, that’s what I intent and that’s why I work hard everyday. I endure what it takes to help the team.

Where have you found that support in those moments in which you weren’t playing?

Above all, in my family, in my wife. I have to thank her because without her I don’t know what I would do. She’s my strength, my energy, my joy and everything. Without her, nothing would be possible. And also my daughters’ support. Everybody who is a parent knows what it means to arrive home and see your children’s smiles and that’s the greatest feeling. Family is a strength which helps you in the tough times. That’s why I give great value to my private life.

Will be seeing you as a Barça player in this Mundo Deportivo gala for the years to come?

I hope so, my agent Arturo Canales is in conversations with the club. Everything is on track and I wish we reach an understanding. My dream is to continue in Barça for many years, I’m very happy and I think the club is happy with me too: the president, the coach and my teammates. God willing I can stay here many years.

Is your renewal conditioned by Luis Enrique staying at the club given that this season he has relied less on you?

No. To me, it’s better if Luis Enrique continues and I hope he does. He’s the one who knows me best and the one who brought me here. I’m very thankful to him. He knows me very well and we’re on the same page.

You showed in Eibar that you’re regaining the best shape as a team.

Yes, we played at a very high rhythm, we knew how to struggle and connect better. We made a great match versus Eibar and I’m confident we will continue this way until the end of the season. We want to win again all the titles.

Despite the bad news, Busquets will only be two weeks out at first.

Busquets’ injury is really hurtful. He’s an essential player to us. Knowing him, he’ll work hard because he doesn’t want to miss not even a single training.

With Busquets’ and Iniesta’s injuries two spots open up for you in the starting lineup, do you see yourself as a holding midfielder?

I know that holding midfielder position very well and I feel very comfortable there.

How do you see Real Madrid who have lost two matches in the last three?

They’re still ahead of us in the league. We want to be on top and I rather focus on Barça. We have just finished the first half and there’s still much left. We’re confident.

Do you understand why the Bernabéu whistles at Cristiano?

I rather talk about my team and we’re very happy. He’s a great player, people knows what needs to be done and so does he. As a colleague, I wish him the best.

Sergio Ramos was complaining the other day that he’s not well-received at the Sánchez Pizjuán unlike you or Dani Alves?

That has nothing to do with me. I’m very happy with the people in Sevilla and I can’t anything about the Ramos issue. I see myself as a great Sevilla fan. Not only right now, when everything's going fine but I have also had moments with 14,000 fans in which it wasn’t that easy to go home. I live that city and that club within; and I wish them the best.

After the 0-1 scoreboard at Anoeta, tomorrow you have to seal the ticket to Copa del Rey semi-finals.

We cannot trust on the 0-1 of the first leg. I’m convinced it will be a very complicated match but we want to advance.

Will you shake hands with Illarramendi?

[Laughs] They asked me about Illarramendi and I had to answer. They have the freedom to say what they want. That’s ok. Everyone fights for their club.

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