Ivan Rakitic has spoken candidly about his current situation at Barcelona as he continues to struggle for regular playing time at the Nou Camp.
The 31-year-old has been a pivotal figure for the Catalan giants over the years, making over 50 appearances in each campaign since he joined them in 2014.
However, he looks in danger of seeing that streak end this season as he has been limited to just 10 outings thus far across all competitions, with many of those coming off the bench.
As he has seemingly fallen down the pecking order under coach Ernesto Valverde with younger options being preferred perhaps with a long-term vision in mind, Rakitic has now spoken publicly about how the season has gone thus far and has conceded that he’s sad about his current situation.
“How can I have fun? By playing football,” the 31-year-old told Movistar+, as quoted by Mundo Deportivo. “And it’s like I often say, how does my little daughter feel when you take a toy away from her? Sad.
“Well, I feel the same. [Barca] have taken my ball away from me and I feel sad.
“I understand and respect the decisions of the coach, club or whoever, but I think I’ve given a lot in these five years. What I want is to continue having fun, that’s the most important thing for me. I can only have fun by playing.
“I’m 31 years old, not 38, and I feel like I’m in my prime.”
Time will tell if his struggles continue in the coming months or if he can indeed force his way into Valverde’s plans moving forward.
However, should he continue to sit on the bench and be limited to a bit-part role for the reigning La Liga champions, the Croatian international may well be forced to consider his options in January as he would surely be capable of holding down a more prominent role elsewhere.
While he has undoubtedly struggled to showcase his best form this season, Rakitic arguably still has plenty left in the tank at 31, and so it remains to be seen which solution presents itself as he simply can’t continue to play the current role he has for Barcelona.
"¿Cómo se siente mi hija cuando le quitan un juguete? Triste. Yo me siento igual. Me han quitado la pelota, me siento triste".
— Fútbol en Movistar+ (@MovistarFutbol) November 12, 2019