One of the most impressive and underrated aspects of this glorious Barcelona era we live in is how hungry the group of players is. Many of them have enjoyed plenty of success, and players like Messi, Iniesta, Mascherano, Piqué, Dani Alves could retire today and have more trophies than almost anybody in history.
But unlike what usually happens with human beings in general, these players do not get tired of winning, and they're always eager to win the next trophy like it's the first one. That feeling is infectious, and new players have the same hunger even after enjoying some success of their own.
Take Ivan Rakitic for example. He won the Europa League with Sevilla, and then came to Barcelona and won the Treble, all that in just over a year. One could assume the Croatian would like to chill out and not give his all since he already won everything he could. That's not happening.
"Nobody wants to do that more than we do. We want to carry on making history and win the sextet."
That's some immovable resolve there, and a will to win that is impressive. Having these kinds of players on a team is rare, and that's one more reason why Barça is so consistent in winning.
Rakitic also talked about Barça's first final of the season, the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla in Tbilisi, Georgia, next week. Other topics include Neymar and Messi, his bigger role on the team with the departure of Xavi Hernández, and facing his former club again. Here's a few highlights:
"There is nothing better than starting the season with a title. No team can claim to be at 100% at this stage, but that’s not an excuse. We’re playing for the first title.
"This is not any old game for me. There is a lot of Sevilla in me, but not for this game. As I have always done, I’ll be giving everything I have to Barça.
"Messi and Neymar do a lot for us, but so do all of the players. The most important thing is for us all to start gathering form and doing the best we can".
"We all know what Messi is capable of doing and he seems happy and on top form".
"We are confident in ourselves and in our strengths. We’ll work even harder than we did last year. But we know that there will be hard times this season too".
"I’m confident about my shooting and if I can score goals, then I’m even more confident. Teams like to shut up shop against Barça so long shots are sometimes a useful resource to have".
"We’ve got a strong team and I just try to be myself. I like taking on responsibilities, as I have done at all the clubs I’ve played for. My role won’t change because Xavi has gone. I am Rakitic and I provide my own virtues."