Ivan Rakitic is now a world-class footballer and winner of the biggest titles in Europe with Sevilla and Barcelona, but his story could have been way different had he not made an important decision as a teenager.
The Croatian international and Barça star spoke to FourFourTwo Magazine, and he revealed that at age 16 he decided to snub Premier League champions Chelsea, mainly in fear of being part of their loan army.
"I wanted to stay at home, I had a really special relationship with the president of Basel. It was much better for me to do preseason with the first team there and then work my way gradually to the top. There was another guy in my situation, Jonas Elmer, who moved from Zurich to Chelsea at the age of 17. He ended up playing in the second division in Switzerland.
"Maybe that could have been me. I don’t want to say it’s always better to stay where you are in that situation, but my decision was to stay at home with my family and it worked well for me."
Though he has decided not to join the Premier League at such a young age, a move to England is still in his plans:
"Of course, I like it very much. A lot of my friends are playing in the Premier League; it’s a different style of football and I always enjoy playing in Europe against English teams. Maybe one day I can play there, too.
"I like how every game is always intense and how everybody lives for football. You can have a game like Crystal Palace vs Stoke where both teams are strong, powerful, fully committed and the crowd are fully behind their team."
Think about that later, Ivan. You're a Blaugrana now. And have you watched Chelsea lately?