Ivan Rakitic: 'Playing alongside Lionel Messi is special'

Rakitic: 'Playing alongside Messi is special'
© Offside
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic says that Ernesto Valverde's decision to rest Lionel Messi against Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday night was a smart decision.

Ivan Rakitic has admitted that playing alongside Lionel Messi "is always special" and says that it is important Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde manages the forward's playing time.

Messi, seeking a fifth Ballon d'Or crown later this week, finally committed his long-term future to the Catalan club last week by agreeing a new four-year deal.

Having scored 17 times in all competitions this term, the 30-year-old was left on the bench for the opening hour of Barca's 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday night, and Rakitic believes that it is important Valverde continues to look after the superstar forward.

"The important thing is that he's happy here. The important thing is that he's with us and he's by our side," he told reporters. "Sometimes he should rest.

"To play with him is always special and when he has 20 to 25 minutes too he can change the game and the play completely. It's good that he was good in this game and we have to look after him well."

Thirteen of Messi's goals this term have come in La Liga, putting him well clear at the top of the scoring charts.

Share this article now:
Ivan Rakitic in action for Barcelona during their La Liga clash with Granada at the Camp Nou on October 29, 2016
Read Next:
Barcelona open to selling Ivan Rakitic?
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!
2Atletico MadridAtletico2416713692755
3Real Madrid24146458273148
10Real Betis24103114150-933
11Celta Vigo2495104137432
12Real Sociedad2485114645129
14Athletic Bilbao2461082427-328
18Las PalmasLas Palmas2453161852-3418
19Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo2445152453-2917
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account