Rakitic: Thank God I play with Messi!

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic says he thanks God that he now plays alongside club talisman Lionel Messi.

The Croatian playmaker joined the Camp Nou giants from Sevilla this summer and, during an interview with Marca, he jokes his new teammate could play on until he is 80 years old.

“Deco said the other day that Leo could play until he is 60!” Rakitic said. “I said to him that he could play until he is 70 or 80, until his retirement!

“God has given him something different and I must also say thank you to God for allowing me to play at his side.

“Doubting in the quality of a player of the quality of Messi seems a shame to me. He is the best in the world in everything he does. For me, he is the best.”

Rakitic was then asked about another of his teammates, Brazilian Neymar, as well as his Coach Luis Enrique.

“I played against Neymar at the World Cup and he is a player who makes a difference in spite of his youth. The quality he has is impressive.

“He has a lot of freedom and it is difficult to defend against him. Everyone should enjoy him.

“Enrique is a Coach who looks you in the face and he is very much a perfectionist. That is good.”

The midfielder also said it was realistic to expect Barca to win three competitions this season, despite their trophyless campaign last time out.

“No, that’s not crazy, it’s realistic. But it is a very long road, we are only in pre-season. You can’t be talking about trophies yet.

“But, logically, our mentality is to win.”

“For everything that has happened in recent years you can see the two Madrid teams will be there or thereabouts. Maybe there will be a surprise too.

“But in general, the League has improved in recent years, the level has improved and the results aren’t as predictable.

“Every match is difficult and it is always difficult to impose yourself.

Finally, the former Sevilla man wished the Andalusians luck in tonight’s UEFA Super Cup match with Real Madrid.

“They invited me to go to the match in Cardiff. In me, they have an additional fan.

“I’m not against Real Madrid, but I am a Sevillista and I am going for Sevilla. Hopefully they win and give another title to the club.”

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