Even though he has become one of the best performers for Barcelona since joining the club last season, Ivan Rakitic has not forgotten where he came from. His years at Sevilla were special for him and the team, who enjoyed a very successful stint with the Croatian star as the captain.
Now, as fate would have it, Rakitic finds himself in the same pitch with Sevilla again, this time to play the UEFA Super Cup next week. The Blaugrana midfielder gave a very good interview to UEFA's website in which he mentioned how much this game and his former club mean to him. He also remembered his special night in Berlin two months ago, when he scored the opening goal of Barça's Champions League Final victory.
Here's some of his quotes:
UEFA.com: You missed Sevilla's UEFA Super Cup appearance last season after signing for Barcelona. You must be looking forward to the occasion this time ...
Ivan Rakitić: On the one hand, yes, but it's also a little bittersweet. I have to thank my team-mates and club for giving me this chance. What I lost last season, I now have this year – and the desire is much greater as a result. I've had to wait another year for this moment. Starting the season, or having the possibility to start the season, with a trophy is even better. And it's sweeter still because it's against my Sevilla.
UEFA.com: What do Sevilla mean to you?
Rakitić: Honestly, everything. Because when I say I'm going home, I mean I'm going to my house in Seville. That is where my wife is, where my daughter was born. So I have a very special connection, not just with the club, but with the city and all the people there.
UEFA.com: You have had some time to get used to being a UEFA Champions League winner. How does it feel?
Rakitić: I am very proud and very happy, especially because it came a year after Barcelona failed to win anything. I'm also delighted that I won the fans' confidence and the confidence of all the people at Barça.
This Super Cup had to be against Sevilla. This is a very special story. But we are Barça, we are playing for a trophy, and with all due respect to Sevilla we will play to win.
UEFA.com: Your goal in the UEFA Champions League final was the most important of your career. Talk us through it...
Rakitić: Well, it was an impressive moment. We looked for the gap, made a lot of passes with plenty of movement, and I think it was a real Barça goal. To be able to be there, I must thank my team-mates for getting me into that situation.
UEFA.com: What was the key to winning the final in Berlin?
Rakitić: The most important thing is that we never changed our way of doing things. Even when you could see that at certain times the ball wasn't going where we wanted it to, we never lost our temper and said we should do things differently.
UEFA.com: How did it feel to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy?
Rakitić: It is lighter than the Europa League one! There are no words to explain how you feel. All footballers work hard to live that moment. That's the most important thing. Like I usually say, I don't like to dream, I like to live it and thank God I had this opportunity. Hopefully it will not be the last one.