Ivan Rakitic is enjoying the time of his life as a footballer. He was already a successful player at Sevilla, and he was quickly becoming a star. But after moving to Barcelona last year, the Croatian midfielder has solidified himself as one of the best players in his position in all of football.
His abilities, combined with a ridiculous work ethic and dedication turned Rakitic into an invaluable member of the Blaugrana squad. Alongside the 'MSN' trio, he is probably one of the untouchable members of this current team. Things definitely are rougher without him on the pitch.
Even though his personal season was amazing, Rakitic makes it clear that his great performances have a lot to do with having the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, right in front of him. Ivan is more than happy to run all day long for the Argentine and the other two world-class attackers beside him, Neymar and Luis Suárez. It is not easy to sacrifice and work that much to give the trio all the spotlight, but Rakitic is willing to let his ego to the side if it benefits the whole team.
Rakitic talked about those topics in an interview with Marca. Here's a few highlights:
Q. Does the idea of the sextuple make your head spin?
A. No, but it does fill me with awe because only a few of my teammates have won one. It had never been done before then. We don't feel under pressure, but we know it's going to be very difficult.
Q. Would winning the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla leave a sour taste in your mouth?
A. I can't say that because there's a trophy up for grabs, I know where I am and I'm going to fight the utmost for Barcelona. I would have liked Sevilla to win it if we weren't in it, though.
Q. Where does the key to Sevilla's success lie?
A. It's all about how well run the club is and the amazing work done by [sporting director] Monchi. Luck also has a role, but Monchi deserves the credit for bringing in the right players.
Q. Is life easier when you have Messi?
A. Honestly, yes it is. Every team would love to have Leo, but luckily we've got him and we're going to look after him. He does things that no one else can. And, if we can make him even better, then that's great.
Q. Do you enjoy having Messi, Suárez and Neymar ahead of you?
A. Yes, I do, although a lot of people say that it's easy to play with them and that's rubbish. They are on another level and we play for them because they have earned it, but that doesn't mean it's easy. You have to get used to doing work on their behalf, and if I have to run 5,000 kilometres so that one of them can have his moment, that's fine by me.