Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta has urged the Blaugrana not to sell midfielder Ivan Rakitic this winter.
Following the summer signing of Frenkie de Jong and the continuous growth of Arthur, Rakitic has seen his playing time cut drastically so far this season.
The Croatian has played nine games for Barcelona but just one of those have come from the start and Rakitic has only accumulated 233 minutes.
Should Barcelona sell Rakitic? Five things to know…
- Rakitic signed for Barcelona from fellow La Liga club Sevilla in 2014.
- The Croatian has played 277 times in total for the Blaugrana so far.
- But he has started just once so far this season in all competitions.
- According to Marca, Manchester United and Juventus are interested in signing Rakitic in January.
- But Andres Iniesta has urged Barcelona to keep hold of their “great player”.
This has led to Rakitic being linked with a move away from Barcelona, with Manchester United and Juventus among those quoted as hold an interest.
But Iniesta, who played alongside Rakitic 136 times for Barcelona, believes the Croatian remains a great player and one the club should not let leave.
“I would not,” Iniesta told Marca when asked whether he would allow Rakitic to leave Barcelona.
“I personally consider him a great player. What he has been doing all this time has been magnificent.
“This year he is not having the prominence he had before but that does not mean that he isn’t a great player.”
Although the lack of playing time would have added to speculation over Rakitic’s future, the Croatian midfielder was also being linked with a move away from Barcelona over the summer.
But at the time, the 31-year-old pledged his immediate future to Barcelona, saying: “My idea is very clear, I want to stay at Barca. [Transfer talk] is a situation I’m used to. It happened to me last year.
“I’ve spoken with the club and the coach and we have the same idea, for me to stay at Barca. We’re open to everything, as always, but my intention is to stay. I have two more years on my contract and I want to keep enjoying myself at Barca.”
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Juventus rule out Rakitic move
Although reports have linked Juventus with a move for Rakitic, the Croatian seems unlikely to make a switch to the Turin club.
Speaking in October, Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici dismissed suggestions that the club were looking to add Rakitic to their roster.
“Our squad is complete and we consider it to be one of the best in Europe,” he said.
“We’re happy with our players. I’d rule out the arrival of a full-back. With Mandzukic, we chose a quiet time for him [to leave] but a move to Qatar did not materialise so he stayed with us.
“Now we’ll see what happens in January.”