Ivan Rakitic was arguably the best player on the pitch in Barcelona's 1-0 loss to SSC Napoli. The score doesn't reflect what happened in the game. The Blaugrana dominated the whole time, and the Croatian was the man of the match, playing as Barça's box-to-box man, and doing it almost flawlessly.
After the match, Rakitic was ecstatic with his performance, and looked pretty confident that the team's showing is a good sign of what's happening next, for him and for Barça.
"I feel better everyday. My teammates are great and we understand each other more and more. I'm happy and I want to keep improving. Despite the loss, tonight we showed how hungry we were. We created many chances, and that helps our confidence a lot.
Designated man to take corner-kicks? I'm ready for it and we're going to work on it. We haven't practiced it, yet. But we have world-class guys and we're going to work it out.
Claudio Bravo's error? He's a goalkeeper, he's the only player on the field that can go through something like that. It happens to all players in his position. That won't change the confidence we already have in him, so you don't need to kill him. He had a great performance, the mistake doesn't change it."
Rakitic's performance against Napoli really got me excited to see what he's doing moving forward. Imagine what he can do with Messi, Neymar and Suárez in front on him. His style is not that of a Xavi, but the midfield got extremely more dynamic with him there. One can say he was the missing piece to add things that Barça's old system didn't have.
Here's hoping he continues to improve and becomes everything we expect him to be and more.
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