During an interview with FIFA.com, Ivan Rakitic detailed how special it was to play alongside Lionel Messi during his time at Barcelona.
Rakitic, who returned to Sevilla in the summer after a hugely successful six-year stint as a Barcelona player, is one of few players in the world who has been blessed enough to play as many as 300 times alongside Messi.
Messi is widely considered as one of the greatest players of all-time, with Rakitic sharing a great deal of success with the Argentine, notably four La Liga titles and their famous treble win in 2015.
After departing the Catalan giants, Rakitic has now spoken of what an honour it was to play alongside Messi, thanking the Barca attacker for all the memories they shared. He’s quoted by FIFA.com saying:
“One hundred per cent football. 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.'”
Any young player looking to make a career in football could only dream of sharing a football pitch with Messi. Rakitic has on hundreds of occasions, so it’s no surprise that he counts himself so fortunate.