Valverde: Rakitic one of the best

Ernesto Valverde insists Barcelona have no intention of selling Ivan Rakitic to Paris Saint-Germain. “He’s one of the best.”

Barca reportedly rejected an €80m bid from PSG for Rakitic earlier in the week, and Valverde asserted his club could ill-afford to lose the midfielder.

“Rakitic is one of the best,” said the Coach at a Press conference for Saturday’s trip to Real Valladolid in La Liga.

“He knows how we play and is immersed in the club. We’re not here to do business, only to win

“He’s crucial for our team and I plan to keep Rakitic. I hope he stays. As for Rafinha, I don’t know if there will be any developments before the market closes.

“I expect the window in Spain to shut before the start of the season going forward. It’s absurd that a team can play one game with one team and another game with another.

“It’s also absurd and premature to talk about my new contract right now.”

The Basque was then asked about Valladolid, the state of their pitch and the controversial plan for the Blaugrana’s trip to Girona on January 27 being played in the US.

“The newly-promoted teams play with enthusiasm early on. They still have the joy of promotion on their minds and channel it on to the field,” he continued.

“They’re a dangerous team, so we must take that into account. It’s not normal to relay the pitch four days before a match, although Camp Nou isn’t at its best either.

“The players are an important part of the show. They have a voice and something to say. They only want to be heard.”

Finally, does Valverde believe Real Madrid are weakened by Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit?

“It’s a similar situation to ours with Neymar, which gave us the strength to grow. I see them in the same way,” he concluded.

“I want to win the Champions League like everyone else, as well as La Liga. It’s normal to get excited.”

Barca squad for Valladolid: Ter Stegen, Ezkieta; Semedo, Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Coutinho, Arthur, Arturo Vidal; Messi, Suarez, Dembele, Malcom, Munir

Tags Ernesto Valverde Ivan Rakitic Paris Saint-Germain PSG