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You will probably fall in love with Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic after reading his latest interview

This guy... THIS GUY!!!

FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Ivan Rakitic is one of the most beloved figures in the current Barcelona squad. Signed from Sevilla two years ago for €18 million, he wasn't tipped to be the next great Blaugrana midfielder, and yet he became just that, thanks to an insane work ethic combined with very good talent.

Nobody has played more games under Luis Enrique than Rakitic. Nobody. The Croatian is a very important part of the squad, and he's not just a great footballer. Ivan is a great person as well, and it's easy to notice that when reading a fantastic interview he did with Henry Winter from The Times.

Rakitic talks about everything, from the pressure of playing at Barça, to the genius of Andrés Iniesta, to the spectacle that is the 'MSN' trio, and his respect from Pep Guardiola, his opponent on Wednesday's Champions League match against Manchester City.

The interview is sensational, and I'll stop talking now. You should read all of it, but there's one quote, which is higlighted below, that sums up just how awesome Rakitic is. Enjoy:

“After a game, I had an interview and they asked me, ‘What happened with Barça? You didn’t play well.’ I was thinking, ‘What?! We won 6-0.’ So I said, ‘OK, we’re going to work really hard so that in the next game we’ll be better.’ The pressure inspires me. This pressure is different to other clubs. That’s why Barça are the best club in the world. You have to understand that in Barcelona the pressure is so high that you have to win every game, and win with style.

“When we then played the Club World Cup in Yokohama, it was crazy. Small kids were waiting five or six hours just to say hello at the airport, the hotel, the stadium, everywhere. This is why they say Barça is ‘Mes Que Un Club’. The whole world loves Barça.

“People like to see Leo, Ney and Luis score all these goals. All the people are laughing, so happy but when you’re inside Barça it is different. They say, ‘You play with the best players, it is easy, no?’ It is not so easy as people think. There isn’t another team in the world that wants to attack all the time. We have the same idea when we play Real Madrid or a team from the Segunda Division.

“It’s like when three kids take the ball and just want to play. They want to score all the time. I remember last season, we were 6-0 in front [against Sporting Gijón] and somebody didn’t give a pass to them and they were angry because they want to score again.

“They’re really hungry. Leo has won everything but he wants it again. Next season, he wants it again. When I arrived from Sevilla, I knew that if I have to run 10,000m for them, I will do this, and I’ll do this with a smile because I’m happy to be part of this.

“If I can make Leo that little bit better, so I do it. Sometimes, I laugh on the pitch watching Leo’s skill. He’s a unique player. If you want to see skill like that, you have to take PlayStation! I don’t like playing against Leo in training. I like him in my team. It’s easy then! Of course I like Cristiano [Ronaldo], he’s a big player, and there are maybe ten players really special and I respect them and I say to all of them, ‘Congratulations’, but if we speak about the best, it is Leo Messi.

“Neymar is on the way to be the next best. Barça will do the best thing to sign a new contract with him [one is on the table which Neymar indicates he will sign] and maybe they can put a buyout clause as high as possible, because he will be the next Messi for sure. He’s scored [nearly] 300 goals and he’s only 24. He’s really special.

“The years at Liverpool were really important for Luis. There he takes the change from a good player to be the best striker in the world and then do the next step at Barcelona. When he’s not playing; it feels something’s wrong. Luis is one of the most important players for us. He’s a really good guy in the dressing room, one of the most open people who likes to joke.

“We lose the biggest character with Dani Alves [who moved to Juventus in July]. He was the most important guy for the dressing room.” Why? Clothes? Character? “Everything. But there are a lot of crazy — in a good way — guys like [Gerard] Piqué, Jordi Alba, Luis, Ney. It’s a really good dressing room.”

“I always have this feeling that Andrés [Iniesta] is dancing on the pitch. It’s like when you hear classical music. Every step, he’s dancing with the ball.

"[Guardiola's return to Camp Nou] will be emotional. I was not in the club with him but when I came I asked to take the No 4 shirt because it was the number of Guardiola. It was really special for me.

“I know from what I hear inside the club that it is really special to play against a team of Guardiola. It will be really, really hard to play against City. They have changed their idea of playing. It is not the same team when we last played against them in the Champions League. It will be really hard because Guardiola knows Barcelona. We have to play at our 100 per cent, not at 99 per cent if we are to beat City.”

Source: The Times

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