Ivan Rakitic and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon have indulged in some mutual admiration ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League clash in Turin.
Speaking ahead of the game Rakitic said he would like to give his World Cup place to Buffon after Italy failed to make it to World Cup 2018.
"I would like to tell Buffon to go in my place because what he’s done for football is incredible, simply unique,” he said at a pre-match press conference.
"When a child writes out his ideal lineup, Buffon is always in there. I can’t explain what it’s like to see him at the end of a game in that shape and to stand next to him. It’s a shame he isn’t able to finish his career at another World Cup and I’d honestly love to give him that opportunity.
"It’s difficult to stay out of a tournament like that. When you saw him crying in the interview at the end of the match [against Sweden], you wanted to cry with him."
The words clearly had an impact on Buffon as he responded almost immediately to Rakitic on Twitter.
Dear @ivanrakitic , as a goalkeeper I might still play but playing for Croatia as a midfielder in your place might not be a great idea: I am saying it for your good sake. Joking apart, your words have been a great gift. Thanks to you and @JordiAlba: my jersey is waiting for you— Gianluigi Buffon (@gianluigibuffon) November 21, 2017
What a legend.