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Ivan The Irreplaceable

January 31, 2019




Talk Sport wrote a fantastic article on Ivan Rakitić in December and highlighted how he is irreplaceable at Barcelona; even with Messi and Suaraz playing alongside him.



Luka Modrić received much of the praise during Croatia’s World Cup run in Russia – rightfully so – but Ivan Rakitić offered an ‘X-factor’ component which was irreplaceable: he flew under the radar.



Opponents had to deal with Modrić in the middle of the field, Perišić and Rebić on the wings, and a mighty Mandžukić up top. That left Rakitić with more than enough space on the field to do what he’s best at: be a supporting player to the rest of the team.



And that’s exactly what’s he’s been trained to do at Barcelona alongside greats like Suarez and Messi since his move from Sevilla in 2014. Rakitić will never take over a game – unless it’s penalty time of course – but he is the perfect player to whip in crosses, make strategic runs, and play gritty defense.



It was rumored that Rakitić was headed to Chelsea this winter transfer window but that quickly fizzled. At age 30, Rakitić could surely make it to the next World Cup in 2022. His leadership has always been present on and off the pitch for Croatia and it will be a sad day when Raketa finally hangs up the checkers. He’s the perfect role player who can score the occasional Euro ‘wunder-gol’.



Check out his fantastic run and cheeky touch to score in Barcelona’s 6-1 victory over Sevilla in Copa Del Rey action Wednesday night.


Rakitić Goal vs. Sevilla




Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 26 comments

  1. Soul Champ says:

    The way he captained Sevilla showed me what type of field general he was.

    He played all three midfield positions up and down the spine of the pitch.

    Sevilla would deploy him according to where they needed the most support

    You think it is easy integrating into Barca first 11?

    Ask Coutinho and is $145 million transfer how difficult a task it is?

    Also Rakitic replaced the legend Xavi and had to hold down an aging Iniesta.

    Now in one sense his natural Croatian field intelligence made it easier for him than for others.

    Stari is from Zadar and not far from Modrici and my support of Luka has been clear from his debut v Argentina.

    But Rakitic was big time for us at the silver run at the World Cup.

    I pray he stays on long as possible for Croatia.

    But between running for Barca and his Spanish wife, I am nervous he pulls a premature Mandžukić move.

    Him or Modrić need to be on the field straight through out Euro 2020 run.

    That pitch presence is the positive difference in big time matches.

    Deschamps made the move of the WC when he subbed off an outclassed Kante.

    Do you remember the hype around as the “stopper?”

  2. Tibor Guzanović says:

    Losing Vrsaliko hurts but he should have had the surgery 4 months ago. Now on Rakitic, does anyone get the vibe that at times he rather be Spanish than Croatian?

  3. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    Without Vrsaljko, the team is still very good: Kalinic; Milic, Vida, Lovren, Jedvaj; Rakitic, Brozovic, Modric; Perisic, Kramaric, Rebic. That’s an excellent team, and we have depth off the bench too. Certainly this team can beat the other teams in the group. With the progress made recently by players such as Pasalic, Mitrovic, Brekalo, and Vlasic, we will be in good shape. I look forward to the Azerbaiján match, even without Vrsaljko. It is Jedvaj’s time to shine!

  4. Maminjo says:

    Jedvaj did well against Spain with those two goals, but was completely at fault the next game against England.

    Such an up-and-down player. But if he’s going to be anything, he has to show it now. So we do need to try him at RB for the next several months.

  5. vuki says:

    Even though Borna Sosa is still unproven, he’s still a better option at LB than Antonio Milic for me. I feel good about Jedvaj, he performed well after being thrown in against Spain and England, he will be better when he knows he is the starter. We really just need to take advantage of having some pretty weak teams in our group and throw some younger players into the fire and gain some experience in first team matches. Also, we can’t have our usual hiccups in qualifying. Show teams why we were World Cup finalists.

  6. Dannyj says:

    The other Ivan is still wishy washy at inter
    Hope he gets his situation settled before qualifying

    I know it’s been talked about before and I honestly don’t know nuff bout tactics
    But maybe he could slot on one of the wing backs if vrsaljko is gone seeing as we seem to have nuff guys who can play wing these days
    Seems to me Vlasic and brekalo have more then nuff speed and young legs for the wings

  7. Medo says:

    Lots of talk of how the young Dutch wunderboy De jong is being slotted in as Rakitic’s replacement..sooner than later.
    There have been more than a few whiz kids fail miserably upon their arrival at Barca or Real.
    Halilovic and Odegaard were both thought of as count Miss prospects.and even song and gleb bombed though they were older and established.
    Barca is a different kind of beast.Ivan can be very proud of all he has accomplished there.

  8. Mr. Black says:

    Halilovic to Standard Luik in Belgium. A very decent team with a very decent coach (Michel Preud’homme). I think Halilovic made a wise decision. Standard Luik and the Belgian league are excellent to bounce back.
    We have playoffs in Belgium. The first six team play ten games against each other to decide who will be champion. If Alen can shine in those games…

  9. The Real Deal says:

    How many games have you guys seen Sosa play for Stuttgart, forget about the U21 bullshit when he’s playing against other kids?

    I’ve seen 4 of his games this season and in my opinion he’s not ready for the NT, no where near it. In saying that though I guess if Dalic sees huge potential in the boy you could rush him in when you consider how easy our Euro qualifying group is, it’s the easiest group we’ve ever had for sure.


    Did you watch England vs Croatia, you reckon an “unproven” Sosa woulda did better than Milic?

    I thought Milic played a pretty good game and wouldn’t be in a hurry to push him out for an “unproven” Sosa.

  10. Andrej L says:

    Rakitic is a true Croatian legend and has had a great tenure at a top club like Barca. Let’s hope he stays healthy and continues to play well into his early 30s like Luka.

    Good for Halilovic. Hopefully, him and Rog finally get some much needed playing time. While Pjaca sat on the bench this past game.

    I’ve never seen Sosa play but Milic did okay his last run out for the Repka. I heard Pivaric might be having surgery too. So I’m sure Sosa will get a look with the Repka.

    Jedvaj admitted he’s not a natural RB and just doesn’t get enough playing time at any position to truly develop. He should’ve looked to move this transfer window as well. And who’s going to back him up now?? Tudor..Juranovic??

  11. Maminjo says:

    Not too worried about the injuries.

    Vrsaljko needs to fix that knee. If he needs to sit out of the majority of the qualifiers, then so be it. We need him for the tournament.

    Pivaric being injured should be a non-issue on account that he sucks and should no longer be on the NT anyway. Hopefully he’s done playing for us.

    Pretty much same with Strinic. I don’t mind Strinic as a depth player, but the man has a heart condition and is already turning 32. Time to start moving away from him.

    I hated Antonio Milic in the first games he played for us, but he did play well against England at Wembley. I don’t mind him being called up. We also have Barisic coming back from injury. Either way, I would put both Milic and Barisic (and the youngster Sosa) ahead of Pivaric or Strinic at LB anyway. So, these two being injured is a non-issue for us.

    One of Sosa, Barisic or Milic should be in form enough to start at LB for us. These three are who we should be planning on playing at Euro2020 anyway.

    At RB, we have Jedvaj. He’s not injured, he just doesn’t play regularly at his club. I don’t mind that so long as he delivers. He delivered against Spain, but failed against England. We’ll see if he can cover for Vrsaljko while he’s out.

    We should be okay to roll out a back four of Jedvaj, Vida, Lovren and one of Barisic/Sosa/Milic in qualifying.
    That’s not a bad lineup.

    This Gol article is a bit ‘doom and gloom’ but you’re never going to have a qualification cycle where everyone is injury-free and/or in great form. This is why it’s good we have depth.

    Kramaric, Rebic, Modric, and Raketa are all in great form right now. Just those four alone are enough to take out teams like Azerbaijan in the early phase of the qualifications in March. We all know Perisic and Brozovic will step up for us too (despite all the Perisic transfer talk). Same goes for Vlasic and Brekalo.
    I’m not worried at all.

  12. Maminjo says:

    In other (good) news,
    Perisic transfer to Arsenal fell through. He’s staying at Inter. This is better for us.

  13. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    We are supposed to have a number of good young defenders. Jedvaj played well as RB against Iceland in the WC; he can do the job. Antonio Milic played well both times he got the call. Barisic played well against Portugal. Vida can play RB or CB, and the same goes for Jedvaj. Mitrovic is an excellent CB, so as long as he is healthy, the defense will be strong. Dalic is a good coach, so he will manage the players well. Some of the more exciting matches have been with the B-team playing, so this will be fun. And Lovren needs to see his substitute play well to keep him on his toes. ;)

  14. Dannyj says:

    Benkovic has an injury and will be back in March
    But they seem to like him in Celtic
    Anyone follow him? Can he be the real deal for us?
    How is caleta-car doing this season?

  15. Bobby V says:

    Dejan Lovren is suspended for the first qualifier in March against Azerbaijan for his social media comments about Sergio Ramos after Croatia’s 3-2 League of Nations win over Spain.

    Even after he comes back, putting together a different back four can be more difficult than you believe. Nowhere is chemistry more important on the pitch than in defense.

  16. Andrej L says:

    Maminjo and Doom said it well; we have options that have proven effective previously and they’ve played together before. We are playing weaker competition but then again we tend to play down to their level at times. I’m personally more worried more worried about options after our offensive 3. Vlasic is the only one getting regular playing time compared to Brekalo and Pjaca.

    Found this video. Would love to see Brozo go to City to play under Pep;

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