Ivan Rakitić is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a central or attacking midfielder for the Croatia national team. Rakitić started his professional career at Basel and spent two seasons with them before he was signed by Schalke 04. After spending three-and-a-half seasons in the Bundesliga, he was signed by Sevilla in January 2011. Two years later, Rakitić was confirmed as the club captain and captained the team to UEFA Europa League triumph. In June 2014, Barcelona and Sevilla reached an agreement on the transfer of Rakitić. In his first season with Barça, he won the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League. He scored the first goal of the 2015 Champions League Final and became the first player ever to win the Champions League a year after winning the Europa League while playing for two clubs. At the international level, Rakitić plays for the Croatia national team. Although naturally a product of Switzerland’s youth level, Rakitić pledged his international career to his parents’ country of Croatia instead. He made his debut for Croatia in 2007 and has since represented the country at UEFA Euro 2008, UEFA Euro 2012, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, winning a runners-up medal in the latter tournament, and earning over 100 caps.
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A talented and hard-working midfielder, Rakitić is known in the media as a well-rounded playmaker, with good stamina and defensive skills, as well as excellent technique, close control, vision, and passing, which enables him to dictate play in midfield and create chances for teammates after winning back possession, despite his lack of pace. As such, he is capable of both breaking down opposing plays and subsequently transitioning the ball forward to start attacks; he is also capable of scoring goals himself, courtesy of his striking ability from distance, as well as his ability to find and exploit spaces with his movement off the ball and make attacking runs into the box. A versatile player, he is capable of playing in several midfield positions, and has been deployed as a winger on either side of the pitch, as a central midfielder, as an attacking midfielder, as a defensive midfielder, in a box-to-box role, or even as a deep-lying playmaker. In 2019, in an interview with BeIN Sports, manager José Mourinho described Rakitić as “one of the most underrated players in the world.” He later added: “He is fantastic on all levels; he defends, he compensates for [Lionel] Messi, he runs and he’s sensible with the ball at his feet.”