Rakitic: I’m not Xavi’s replacement

Ivan Rakitic has insisted that he isn’t going to Barcelona to replace Xavi, and has admitted how difficult it was to leave Sevilla.

The Croatia international has officially signed for the Blaugrana in a deal thought to be worth around €20m.

But speaking at a Press conference, the playmaker has claimed that it was a difficult decision to walk away from Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

“I’m not going to Barcelona to replace anybody,” he told the gathered media.

“I’m going to be Ivan Rakitic, to do the best possible, but always being true to myself.

“I never thought it would be this painful to talk. I had something prepared, but I’d prefer to say what comes straight from my heart.

“I want to remember Del Nido, for the way he always treated me, and Monchi, who is a friend for life. Also José María del Nido Carrasco, who was always at my side. I’d also like to say thank you to all the Coaches for everything I’ve learnt from them.

“And thanks to the most important people, my teammates. President Castro has also been so important. It means a lot to me that people have come to say goodbye.

“The fans mean so much to me. I know what this all means, and I don’t want this to be goodbye forever, because being the first foreign captain here since Maradona is something I’ll tell my daughter.

“Sevilla and the city is something I’ll always have in my heart.

“Sevilla was always my first choice. I asked for time to assess certain things and I’ve decided to make the move for my career and to be able to fight for more titles.

“Last year people left, but I stayed because I wanted to achieve great things. Now has come the moment, but only thinking in football terms.”

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