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.

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

3Atletico MadridAtletico159602471733
4Real Madrid1594230111931
10Real Sociedad155462828019
11Celta Vigo155372723418
13Real Betis155372329-618
14Athletic Bilbao154561619-317
17Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo154381827-915
20Las PalmasLas Palmas1531111134-2310
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