Lionel Messi

Rakitic: There's only one number one player ever - Lionel Messi

The Croatian said he was fulfilling a dream of his to play alongside the mercurial Argentine during their time at Barcelona

11:16am on Friday 20th November 2020
Martin Macdonald

Ivan Rakitic believes Lionel Messi is the undisputed best player in football and "on another level" to anyone else who has played the game.

The pair enjoyed a hugely successful period at Barcelona together, winning four La Liga titles, one Champions League, and four Copa del Rey titles from 2014 to 2020 before Rakitic moved back to Sevilla in the summer.

Messi is regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest player ever to grace a football pitch, winning multiple domestic leagues, multiple Champions League titles, and six Ballon d'Or trophies.

For Rakitic, there is no doubt that Messi is the best.

"One hundred per cent football," the Croatian responded when asked by what the name Messi means to him.

"It doesn’t matter who you are, you just have to watch and enjoy this guy. He’s on another level.

"With all respect to the other greats, there’s only one number one – it’s Leo. To play 311 games next to him, it was a dream.

"I enjoyed it so, so much. I just want to say this: ‘Thank you for everything, Leo, because you’ll never know how much it meant to me to play next to you.'"

After the appointment of Ronald Koeman in the summer, Rakitic was deemed surplus to requirements at the Camp Nou and was subsequently sold back to Sevilla for a nominal fee.

He looks back on his time in Catalunya with pride, though, as he knows he is part of the history of the club.

"Six years, 311 games – the foreigner with the fourth-most games after Messi, Dani Alves and Mascherano – 13 titles. I think I can say that I’m part of the history of the club," he added.

"I got so much out of those six years. I will have Barcelona – the club, the city, the people – in my heart for the rest of my life. My family got bigger there – my youngest daughter was born in Barcelona.

"I’m really proud of my time there and will always cherish it."

Rakitic has already travelled back to the Camp Nou this season with Sevilla, who earned a commendable 1-1 draw at the start of October.

Los Nervionenses are currently down in 12th in La Liga.

Latest news


What Footballers Get Up to in Australia – Pre- Season Tours and Hobbies

Travel is part of life for footballers, and commercial opportunities have taken plenty of teams to the land down under

  • 1 month

Saudi Arabia's Chase For Liverpool's Salah Might Not Be Over Yet

With the emergence of the Saudi Pro League this summer and the huge spending spree their clubs went on

  • 3 months
Manchester City

Manchester City’s UEFA Shot: What You Need to Know

It’s important to keep your friends close—And enemies closer, and it's true for Manchester City at the moment

  • 3 months

Top 5 Premier League Managerial Meltdowns

A showcase of the top five most infamous managerial meltdowns from the Premier League.

  • 3 months

Analyzing Team Form and Performance for Betting Success

A look at the key elements in analyzing team performance and form to help in sports betting.

  • 3 months
World Cup

Nike Women's World Cup Clothing Now Available

Nike Women's World Cup Clothing Now Available

  • 4 months

Most read