Ivan Rakitić is in an interesting position. He’s long-time teammates at club level with Lionel Messi at Barcelona, but he’s also a long-time friend and teammate of Luka Modrić at international level, a player who happens to play for his club’s biggest rivals, Real Madrid.
Speaking before Croatia’s 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain, Rakitić said that “the best in the world and in history is Leo Messi. That is really simple. If you ask kids, out of 10, I suspect nine will say the same thing.“
The journalist he was speaking to noted that, prior to the match, Spain coach Luis Enrique and midfielder Sergio Busquets had said Messi was the best in history. “Then we understand things the same way,” Rakitić replied.
“What it has been, I believe” Rakitić continued, “is it has been Modric’s year. Leo knows it and everyone who likes football knows it. He deserves all the awards. If they gave him the UEFA Player of the Year Award, I don’t know what else he can win to also win the best player in the world award.”