Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has admitted Ivan Rakitic could leave the club despite his importance.
The Croatian midfielder, 31, is currently being linked with a move away from Barcelona, with Serie A side Inter Milan being touted as a potential destination.
Will Rakitic leave Barcelona? Five things to know…
- Ivan Rakitic has been linked with a move away from Barcelona.
- The Croatian is reportedly a target for Serie A side, Inter Milan.
- Rakitic has previously admitted he is “used” to doubts over his future.
- Ernesto Valverde insists the midfielder is “important” to Barcelona.
- But he conceded Rakitic could still leave the club this summer.
With Barcelona adding Frenkie de Jong to an already talented midfield including the likes of Sergio Busquets, Arthur and talented teenager Riqui Puig, questions have been asked over Rakitic’s place at the Nou Camp.
And despite reiterating Rakitic’s importance to the team, Valverde admits he is unsure on the Croatian’s future.
“He is very important for us,” Valverde told reporters.
“This is for what he contributes to the team and even in this pre-season, he has scored two goals. His work rate is there.
“Right now, I do not know if he will be staying with us. Of course, I count on him as I have done with all of the players that we have. In principle, nothing makes me think that I won’t be able to count on him.”
Rakitic was an unused substitute in Barcelona’s most recent pre-season friendly, a 4-0 win over Napoli, and will not be guaranteed a place in Valverde’s starting XI when the champions kick off their La Liga campaign against Athletic Bilbao on Friday.
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Rakitic “used” to reports on his future
Valverde’s comments come after Rakitic himself spoke of the constant doubt surrounding his future, admitting he had become used to the reports.
“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,” he said last month.
“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.
“It doesn’t annoy me. I know that football works like this and it makes me proud because if other teams want me it’s because I’m doing things very well. I’m calm.
“I spoke with the president on various topics and now the club has other things to do before thinking about (my new contract). The president wants to create a good squad so that the fans can enjoy Barca.”
Rakitic’s current Barcelona deal runs until June 2021, at which point the midfielder will be 33 years old.