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Croatia’s Rakitic to join camp after 4-day delay

Zagreb, Sep 1 (IANS) Croatian footballer Ivan Rakitic is expected to join the national team’s training camp on Thursday to prepare for the World Cup qualifier against Turkey.

The match is to be held here on Monday, reports Efe.

Rakitic is expected to join after a delay of four days.

Croatia coach Ante Cacic on Wednesday said the absence of Rakitic from the camp is justified and they are in regular contact.

Rakitic has private problems that Cacic said he hopes to resolve.

Cacic also indicated that if the FC Barcelona midfielder arrives on Thursday at the camp, he could play on Monday against Turkey.

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Breaking: United tried to sign this Barcelona star, Chelsea were also in line but offers snubbed mysteriously!!

Jose Mourinho was reportedly interested in signing Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic during the summer transfer window.

According to Mundo Deportivo, the United boss was keen to add Rakitic to his squad despite landing a world-record deal for Paul Pogba.

The Spanish paper claim Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was also interested in swooping for the Croatia international.

Serie A champions Juventus were another team in the hunt, viewing him as a replacement for Pogba, but Rakitic decided to stay put.

As a result, the 28-year-old looks set to now extend his Barcelona contract, which currently runs until 2019.

The initial chase for his signature reportedly started after the trio of clubs sensed he was unhappy at regularly failing to complete the full 90 minutes under Luis Enrique last season.

But Mundo Deportivo state that Rakitic refused to use the issue to secure an exit and that his family is settled in the Catalonian city.

Barcelona’s signing of Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes in July prompted Miquel Sors, one of Rakitic’s representatives, to tweet “It’s time to go”, which sparked speculation over his future.

But he wrote on Instagram: “Getting ready for the new season and really up for it. By the way, my only agent is Arturo Canales.”

 

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Rakitic’s header gives Barcelona 1-0 win over Bilbao

Bilbao (Spain), Aug 29 (IANS) Ivan Rakitic knocked in a decisive header in the first half of Barcelona’s 1-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao.

Twenty minutes into play, it was Arda Turan, who perfectly centered the ball to the waiting Rakitic and he did not wait to slam the ball into the nets to take the lead, although they almost tied it up later on a free kick by Benat Etxebarria.

Lacking Neymar after his gold-winning trip to the Rio Olympic Games, and with Andres Iniesta on the injured list, Luis Enrique Martinez’s boys have nevertheless managed to develop the combinations to triumph in their first two games in this campaign.

Nevertheless, the clash on Sunday was rather heated, freewheeling and intense, something that is unusual so early in the season, with Athletic fighting hard for at least a draw all the way up to the final whistle and developing more good chances than Barca.

Lionel Messi got decent set-ups on several occasions although his shots failed to hit but as play unfolded it didn’t matter after the Croatian’s early score and Barcelona goalie Ter Stegen was able to fight off any threats posed by Athletic.

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Rakitic’s agent hints at Barca exit, top Premier League clubs in race

Barcelona midfielder could be on his way out from Camp Nou this summer according to his agent Miquel Sors. This has put clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool on high alert as they look to seek the services of one of the elite midfielders in entire Europe.

The competition for midfield has really intensified with the arrival of Andre Gomes from Valencia and reports suggest that Rakitic is apparently unhappy with his situation at the Catalan club.

The 28-year old’s agent has tweeted,  “Cero que es hora de irse…” on Friday, which translates as “I think it is time to go” just hours before the official announcement of Andre Gomes’ transfer.

Barcelona’s midfield has now been further intensified with the new signings Gomes, Denis Suarez alongside the other midfielders Rakitic, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Arda Turan, Rafinha, Sergi Samper and Sergi Roberto. This means that there will be only three places up for grabs for the nine midfielders behind the attacking trio of Messi, Neymar, and Suarez.

Rakitic is an influential midfielder since his move to Camp Nou as he helped Barcelona achieve a treble and a double during his two years. He is one of the best midfielders in their roster despite the competition.

However, reports suggest that the player is unhappy as he is not being offered an improved new deal despite his stellar performances for the Catalan club. This has played into the hands of Premier League clubs as they are looking to sign for yet another star player this summer.