This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
It really has gone from bad to worse for Ivan Rakitic and the ongoing 2019/20 campaign is turning out to be a quite a nightmare for Barcelona’s Croatian sensation.
Of course, as far as sudden changes go, the 31-year-old’s situation probably takes the cake for the biggest one in recent times.
Just last campaign – which came off the back of reaching a World Cup final with Croatia – he was enjoying himself on the pitch for Blaugrana, playing consistently and being among the most used players under the still fresh manager, Ernesto Valverde.
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But all of that changed swiftly with some new arrivals last summer and Rakitic went from hero to zero practically overnight. Now, he is among the least used players in the squad, only tallying 186 minutes for the club in the current season.
And his lack of minutes naturally means that he is currently not really in top form. How could he be without any consistent appearances for his club?
This, however, resulted in Rakitic losing his starting position in his national team as well as Zlatko Dalić, Croatia’s national manager, decided to drop his star midfielder to the bench in their important clash with Wales last Sunday.
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The game ended in a 1-1 draw and whether Rakitic could’ve made an impact in the first half or not remains up for debate but the fact remains – things have continued going downhill for the midfielder and him potentially losing his status within the national team squad might be the final nail in the coffin.
It would be too early to say that his time under the sun has completely passed but with his nigh-on non-existent role at Barcelona potentially even undermining his involvement with Croatia’s squad, the only solution would be to go on the lookout for more minutes elsewhere.
For that reason, a separation from the Catalan giant seems inevitable unless things take another drastic turn and Rakitic’s former role at the club is suddenly restored.
But with all the rumours linking him with an exit – not to mention Frenkie De Jong and Arthur Melo reportedly completing Valverde’s preferred midfield trio ahead of Sergio Busquets – that seems rather unlikely to happen.