Rakitic says he will stay at Barcelona next season but admits it is 'not nice' to be out the team

Goal.com

Ivan Rakitic has attempted to quash speculation over his future by insisting he will stay at Barcelona next season but admits that he has found a lack of regular playing time frustrating in 2019-20.

Rakitic completed a €18 million (£16m/$19m) move to Camp Nou from Sevilla in 2014 and has since racked up 299 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring 35 goals.

The Croatia international has picked up four La Liga titles and a Champions League winners' medal during that period, establishing himself as one of Europe's top midfielders in the process.

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However, Frenkie de Jong's arrival at Barca from Ajax last summer saw Rakitic slip down the squad pecking order, and he has been restricted to just 10 La Liga starts in total this term.

It has been suggested that the Blaugrana will cash in on the 31-year-old before he becomes a free agent in 2021, with Sevilla reportedly eager to re-sign their former talisman when the transfer market reopens.

Rakitic has no intention of moving on just yet though, as he told Croatian publication Tportal: "I spoke to the club ten or 15 days ago and the conclusion is that I have nothing to talk about because I have a contract until the summer of 2021 with Barcelona and it is the entity I want to be in and play with.

"Furthermore, my wife and my daughters are good in the city. There is no reason to think about other things. I am training well and I am sure that Rakitic will be in Barcelona longer."

The experienced playmaker says that although he has found in difficult being on the fringes of the action over the past year, he still has nothing but "respect" for head coach Quique Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde in the Camp Nou hot seat back in January.

"It is not nice when you do not play, especially when you do not understand why and they do not explain the reasons," said Rakitic. "But I respect the coach's decisions. I am in a team sport, not individual."

Barca's latest La Liga defence will get back underway when they take on Mallorca on June 13, with all remaining fixtures set to be played behind closed doors following the coronavirus-enforced break in the season.

Setien's men were two points clear of Real Madrid with 11 games remaining when play was stopped, and Rakitic is fully focused on adding yet more silverware to his impressive haul later in the year.

He added: "The most important thing to me is the present moment, and that means we are starting the championship next weekend. We must be ready for that too. 

"With the years I have, I think I have proven that football is most important to me. I simply want to be happy and enjoy. That means winning a lot more trophies with Barcelona."

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