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


'Real Madrid are Europa League meat' - the reaction to Shakhtar loss

Zinedine Zidane could be on the brink of an exit after yet another defeat that leaves their Champions League future in the balance

  • 13 minutes
Player Ratings

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Real Madrid, Player Ratings: Varane flops as Blancos blunder

Zinedine Zidane's side fall once again in Europe, as the Ukrainian side do the double against the Spanish giants

  • 56 minutes

Real Madrid are a broken team, and Zidane doesn't have the answers

The French coach now has one win in six and he doesn't seem to be able to get Los Blancos playing to any kind of standard

  • 58 minutes
Champions League

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Real Madrid: Blancos on the brink after shock loss

Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid side suffered a stunning 2-0 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk and could find their Champions League future out of their hands.

  • 1 hour
Premier League

Aston Villa v Newcastle postponed due to Covid-19 outbreak

The weekend's scheduled Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Newcastle is the first to be called off because of a coronavirus cluster.

  • 4 hours
Handball Rule

Handball rule - how many penalties have been given in 20/21?

The introduction of the new handball rule has seen players penalised for just the slightest infringement

  • 5 hours

Most read