Ivan Rakitic has been strongly linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer, but the Catalan side have decided that they will not sell the Croatian midfielder.
Several clubs have shown an interest in Rakitic, while Barcelona looked to include him in their offers for Neymar. Now, the 31-year-old can return to focusing on football and will be looking to regain his place in Ernesto Valverde‘s starting line-up.
Rakitic‘s decision to not participate in Croatia‘s games against Slovakia and Azerbaijan over the international break raised alarms, with head coach Zlakto Dalic explaining the midfielder’s reason for doing so.
“I spoke with him,” Dalic said.
“He has not resolved his future with his club and, at this moment, he is not ready to play with the national team.”
For Rakitic, he did not like the fact he was included in the possible Neymar deal – in such a public way as well – after being told that Barcelona wanted him to stay.
It is peculiar how he has gone from being an essential player last year, playing in 54 games, to barely featuring. So far this season, he has been on the bench for all three games and only came on during the opening-day defeat to Athletic Club.
His role clearly changed, at least while the transfer window was still open, and it is not as if he played poorly in pre-season; he was one of Barcelona‘s better performers, in fact. Nevertheless, Rakitic has been adamant that he wants to stay.
Juventus have enquired about him insistently in the last few hours, yet the player himself wants to remain at Barcelona. He has a contract until June 2021 and his intention is to continue playing at the Camp Nou beyond this date, but for now the Blaugrana will just focus on the 2019/20 season.
The only work currently going on at Barcelona‘s offices is the departure of Rafinha Alcantara, who is set to reunite with Denis Suarez on a season-long loan at Celta Vigo.