'We must not fool ourselves, La Liga has just begun' - Rakitic plays down Barcelona's seven point lead over Real Madrid

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic is urging the club not to get carried away with their excellent start to the 2016-17 season which sees them sit seven points ahead of rivals Real Madrid after just six games.

Ernesto Valverde's side have won all of their games in La Liga so far, and are four ahead of second-place Atletico Madrid and seven ahead of Real Madrid in fourth position. Barca recorded another convincing victory on Saturday, defeating Girona 3-0 to continue their 100 per cent record.

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Rakitic is pleased with how the side have been playing under their new manager, but believes Madrid's 5-1 aggregate victory in the Supercopa de Espana is reason enough to fear the challenge of Zinedine Zidane's side.

"No one expected us to be seven points ahead of Real but we must not fool ourselves, La Liga has just begun," Rakitic told Goal.

"Remember how Real smashed us in August? We must have looked like the worst team and they seemed untouchable. Now they have fallen down a little but they'll lift soon."

Ivan Rakitic Barcelona Supercopa de Espana

Valverde has been using Lionel Messi in a different position after taking the manager's job from Luis Enrique, but Rakitic does not believe that the change in role is affecting Messi's impact on the side.

"Coach Ernesto Valverde brought some new things, you may have noticed Leo Messi doesn't play on wing that much any more, coach asked him to be in the middle," the 29-year-old continued.

"Of course Leo has freedom, so sometimes he moves to the wing, but the coach wants him in the middle. And he moved me back to be kind of second holding midfielder."

Aside from the appointment of Valverde, Barcelona's biggest story of the summer was the departure of Neymar, who joined PSG for a world record €222 million transfer fee. The Brazil forward has started life brightly in Ligue 1, with four goals and four assists in five games.

Rakitic was sad to see the 25-year-old leave Camp Nou, but has indicated that he would like to be Neymar's team-mate again in the future.

"With Neymar, part of me left Barcelona too," Rakitic exclaimed.

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"He was one of my best mates in locker room, we often talk to each other, he is very happy in Paris, and bought a house.

"And he is happy to be playing in the club where half of his national team players are! I understand him, I wished him all the best and who knows, maybe we'll play together again some time."

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