Credit: FC Barcelona

Rakitic: I prefer to lose at the Bernabéu and win everything

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Rakitic: I prefer to lose at the Bernabéu and win everything

Smiling and tanned, Ivan Rakitic talks about playing for FC Barcelona, being thankful to Sevilla and running more for the benefit of the team.

How do you maintain the hunger for titles after winning the treble?

It’s very easy. The life of a football player is very short. If you don’t take advantage of it now, time goes by very fast and later you won’t have the opportunity to win trophies. Every title nudges you even more. And besides that, in a short time we will play 2 Supercups and at the end of the year we have the Club World Cup. It’s the greatest thing, it’s what we fight for and we accept the sacrifice of spending less time with our families.

Does the sextuple amaze you?

No, but it’s something that gives you a certain respect because until now just a few of my teammates have managed to win it. Before that no one was able to. We don’t feel any pressure, but we know that it’s going to be very hard because the rest of the teams will also prepare very well. We can’t wait for the days in which we will fight for the titles.

Barça’s first rival will be “your” Sevilla.

It’s as good as it gets. I think that Sevilla have strengthened their squad very well, it’s going to be very complicated. We know each other well. I know that Unai [Emery] will prepare the game very well. I’m sure that he wants to change the outcome from last season’s European Supercup. We will be prepared, let’s see if we can win the first title of the season.

Is playing against Sevilla a bittersweet dream?

I can’t say that it’s bitter because we’re playing for a trophy, I know where I am and I will give my all for Barcelona. But if we weren’t the ones playing it I would have liked it if Sevilla would have won, I hope they win the titles that we’re not fighting for. Now I’m going to fight for everything, including the Supercup.

After that, I will wish Sevilla all the best. Everyone knows the love I have for the city and for the club, but in this game we have to look after our own interests.

What will be harder: playing the game or coming home after it?

They’re kind of similar (laughs). My wife’s family is very sevillista, but above everything they’re Ivan Rakitic fans. That’s the most important thing. They’re always supporting me.

What’s the secret to Sevilla’s success?

The way the club works, the way Monchi works, which is impressive. Luck plays a part in it, but the success of the players they buy is Monchi’s merit. I would like to congratulate him on his renewal. Everything he is doing is unique. And the way he experiences everything. He doesn’t works for the club, he’s another Sevilla fan that lives for the club every hour of the day.

Lately it seems like Barça’s squad gets more players from Sevilla than from La Masia.

Every player that comes from Sevilla develops a bit there. Our first steps are at that club and I will always be grateful for that. I never thought that my transfer from Schalke to Sevilla will be so important for my career and my personal life. They bring in young players with potential and then they sell them very well.

Is the Supercup, for the moment of the season in which it’s scheduled, one of the few games in which Barça can be stopped?

We will have to play a perfect game. They’ve been training for a longer time and I’m sure that they’ll be at 100%, but we will be playing for a trophy and there will be no excuses or preseasons that will matter.

But you have important players that will start training very late.

It doesn’t matter if someone comes later. We have to be prepared because Sevilla will not forgive anything.

Finish this phrase: Decisive penalty against Sevilla, Rakitic goes for it and…

I always want to have responsibility in my team and I’m very excited about playing the Supercup. Last year I couldn’t play it with Sevilla against Madrid and now I will and I want to win. I hope Sevilla will have another chance.

You didn’t finish the phrase…

He shoots, he scores and Barça wins the Supercup. I will finish the game with my heart divided, but I also have Barça’s significance inside of me. I know the importance that this has for the fans and I want to fight for the club in which I am. If I could I would divide my heart in two, but I can’t.

You experienced the Sevillan derbys. The Clásico must feel so light in comparison.

Nothing to do with one another. I want to congratulate Betis for their return to La Liga. I think it’s very important, not just for the city but for Spanish football in general. What I experienced in those games is totally different. The Sevillan derby is very special.

What do you think of everything that happened at Real Madrid after they won the Champions League?

I care more about what we are doing. I respect Madrid, but honestly I’m not worried about them and I don’t think about them. The important thing I have to think of is me, my teammates and my club.

Is what happened to them after the Club World Cup is a warning for you?

Anything can happen in football. In three games everything can change, but we don’t want to experience the bad times. We know that the rest of the teams will work very well and will be very strong. We have to be prepared because no one will give us any gifts.

Is winning at the Bernabéu another titles, the seventh?

If we win all of the titles and that game too, it would be nice. But if we win that game and we don’t win any trophies it’s worthless. I prefer to lose at the Bernabéu and win everything.

Madrid’s bad period coincides with Modric’s absence. Is he undervalued?

I don’t know because I don’t pay attention to what they do there, but Luka has a lot of quality and for Madrid it’s important that he recovers as soon as possible and that he’s in his best form. He is a great player and a great leader. I get along great with him and I wish him all the best, but… I want him to finish below us.

Is playing all the difficult away games in the first half of the season an added difficulty?

We will see. If we win them it will be ok, but it’s clear that our schedule is pretty complicated, with a strong start. And on top of that the opponents will be extra motivated because we are the champions.

What are you most excited about this season?

Wearing the Barça shirt and the shield of the greatest team in the world. I feel very proud of that. Having the opportunity to win everything makes you happy. I wake up smiling every day, happy, I train happy… But in the end what matters is what happens on the pitch.

Is the good mood in the dressing room one of the secrets of the team’s success?

It’s very important. It’s like it was at Sevilla, a big family. Same thing here. I don’t know how it was before, but we’re all very united and helping each other.

Is life with Messi easier?

Yes, honestly yes. Every team would like to have Leo, but luckily we have him and we will take care of him the best we can. He does things that no one else can. And if we can help him be even better then it’s perfect.

Do you enjoy having Messi, Suárez and Neymar in front of you?

I enjoy it, yes. But many say that it’s easy to play with them and it’s not. I don’t agree with that. They’re players on a different level and if we play for them it’s because they’ve earned that, but that doesn’t make it easy. You have to get used to work for them. And if I have to run 5000 kilometers so that one of them has a great moment, then I will.

What do you think of what people talk about “Rakitic’s Barça”?

Sometimes it’s better to not think about it and keep doing what you’re doing. I’m not here to talk, I’m here to play and work and do the best I can in trainings and show it to my coach. Of course, besides that I want to have my own way and contribute with my qualities.

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Source: Marca