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Rakitic hails Barcelona trio

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic feels he could be operating behind the three best players in the world this season in Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Last Updated: 29/07/14 at 18:09 Post Comment

Ivan Rakitic: Looking forward to playing with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neym

Ivan Rakitic: Looking forward to playing with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neym

After a disappointing 2013/14 campaign, the Catalan club, with new boss Luis Enrique at the helm, have made some major some moves over the summer to strengthen their squad.

That has included recruiting Croatia international Rakitic from Primera Division rivals Sevilla, as well spending £75million to add Suarez to a frontline that already features global superstars Messi and Neymar.

Meanwhile, Spanish rivals Real Madrid - who finished third, level with on points with second-placed Barca, in the league last term but won the Copa del Rey and European Cup - have also brought in big names, with Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez arriving to join the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale at the Bernabeu.

Speaking on Tuesday at the St George's Park National Football Centre in Burton upon Trent, where Barcelona are having a training camp this week, Rakitic was unwilling to talk about Real.

But regarding his own club's high-profile attacking trio, the 26-year-old said: "I think that these three players are maybe the best players in the world.

"I think from these players we can learn so much.

"We have to work together to be a strong team, a hard team."

It may be some time before the three play together in the Barcelona side, with Neymar currently recovering from the back injury that ended his World Cup with hosts Brazil, and Uruguay's Suarez serving the four-month suspension from all football-related activity he was handed by FIFA in June following his bite at the tournament on Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.

The ban means Suarez is not even taking part in training sessions with his new club for the time being, although, having seen an appeal to FIFA rejected, he has since gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and a decision is expected in August.

What emerges from that process remains to be seen, but Rakitic is keen to get working with the former Liverpool man and says he is "expecting that he (Suarez) can start soon with us".

Rakitic said: "I think he is one of the best players in the world, so of course, I would like it if he could be with us today or tomorrow.

"I am expecting that he can start soon with us and I hope that he will do the same things for Barcelona like he did for Liverpool."

Rakitic, who welcomed the news that fellow midfielder Xavi has opted to stay at Barcelona for at least another season, believes he has signed for a club that "have to win all the time" and "deserve to win games and titles".

He emphasised the extent of the work already being done toward that end as Barca go about their pre-season preparations, which will see them working at St George's Park - where they arrived on Monday - through to Friday before they depart for France on Saturday to play Nice in a friendly.

And, certainly, Rakitic has been impressed by the Burton upon Trent complex, the England national team's base.

"I think it is unbelievable," he said.

"Our national team in Croatia - I think we will never have something like this.

"It is unbelievable and a perfect place for us to work. We are really happy to be here and we hope these five days we can work so hard to be ready.

"I will say one thing for English football - they have something unbelievable and for me, as a Croatian player, I would like to have something like this in Croatia, but it is not possible."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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