squad | 2015-08-12
Rakitic: It wasn't hard joining a big club like Barça, I just focus on doing my job
Rakitic was recently interviewed about his time at Sevilla, his present and future at Barça.
Johan Cruyff used to say that second seasons are the hardest ones. Do you think so?
If he says so, there may be some truth in it. But there are others who say the hardest one is the first and some the third. I really don’t care, I want to make my path and the hope and desire are not leaving me. I come in the morning with a smile on my face and I leave with one. If I don’t enjoy the best club in the world, I’ll never do it.
Does that happiness come for having responsibilities on the pitch?
It was seen in Sevilla, where I was the first foreign captain since Maradona, that I like to take on responsibilities. Now I’m in Barça and I understand and accept the locker room’s hierarchy but I want to state my opinion.
Do you rise when there’s competition?
I don’t know. I don’t like to take it personally with a teammate. I just want to show the coach that he can trust me, that I love to play every match. Even the friendlies.
I guess it’s difficult to be Sevilla’s king once and then become just another player in Barcelona…
It wasn’t hard for me. I don’t dribble like Leo or defend like Piqué but I don’t worry about being like another player. I just focus on doing my job. We’re 25 players and we’re all in the same direction. That’s how you win.
But did you have any doubt about if you had the required level?
None whatsoever, I’ll perform badly sometimes but you can’t lose your confidence or your positivism. And if the mind doesn’t work...the first thing to look out is your body because we make our living with it, but in the end everything comes from the mind and we must take care of it too. If it’s not organized, it’s difficult to perform well.
Is it easy to fall in the temptation to believe you’re the best once you’re playing for Barcelona? You must be showered with compliments.
You can believe them but I don’t think you should worry about that. Many would like to be in my position, so you just have to keep that in mind. Nothing more.
You work a lot in the pitch. In fact you finish the matches with your face reddened [because of the effort].
My wife says my face changes, that it looks weird. I hydrate; I drink five or six liters of water before the matches...of course I’d like a hamburger with sauce but this is my living. Still I finish exhausted. The other day I fell sound asleep next to my daughter…
But isn’t playing in Barça mean that it is the rivals who have to run instead?
The difference is in winning. I may end up drained but I have enjoyed on the pitch, dominating, winning...with positive energy you can play everyday. There’s nothing better than the ball at your feet. Attacking and knowing what’s going to happen is the best feeling in the game.
In your case, you pass the ball to Messi a lot.
That is usually the best choice because he has the skill to dribble two or three opponents with just a movement. But we have to look for the best solution and it’s important the three up front can enjoy some one-on-one challenges. If they’re not having the best day, then you have to get the lines closer, play calmly so they can regain their confidence. It’s about making your teammates better.
Although sometimes that means to cover up the open spaces left by others.
Many people say it’s very easy to play with Leo, Ney and Andrés...and yes, it’s as good as it gets and we all want to have Messi on our team. But it’s not easy and everything has its implications because Messi doesn’t move like a winger. I, like everyone else, am a bit selfish and I want to show my game, yet if things haven’t gone my way but I’ve helped the team then that makes it alright.
Is the long-range shot your way of helping?
It’s one of my skills. You have to control the ball forward so you don’t lose the chance of shooting. Sometimes they fix the attackers and it’s something I must do because it is part of my game. I need to shoot it. However, you need to turn around quickly because you have to defend the next play.
And with that shooting ability, given Xavi has left, have you asked to shoot some free-kicks this season?
I used to shoot everything in my previous teams. But we’ll see. We can’t say they’re doing it wrong.
Now the European Super Cup is next, does a player accustomed to winning need the finals to feel complete?
You need to win and you need the titles. That’s what people talk about. No one asks you about how you did against some rival, they ask you about how the Champions League final went, in the Cup final...that’s what we play for. It won’t be easy against Sevilla because they’re in a different situation this season. They’ll be playing in the Champions League and now instead of saying they need a player, they say they want a player. They’re coming strong, it’s a very competitive team.
But do Barcelona have a slight edge because you got the same team from last year?
It’s always important to know your teammates’ features and movements. But we’re playing for a title and that’s all we have to think about. We need to score first. The clear objective is the six titles and God willing, we’ll get them.
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