Ivan Rakitic could become the bargain of the season

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Outside of the top two in Spain there are just a handful of players that could potentially earn themselves a move to either Barcelona or Real Madrid.

When rumours surfaced of the availability of Sevilla's then captain Ivan Rakitic, it seemed only right that both of the big guns would be interested.

A masterful performance from the Croatian at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan earlier in the year saw Real put to the sword, and there was no doubting Rakitic's quality as he drove his side on to a well-deserved Europa Cup victory.

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Real/Barca battle

Los Blancos were certainly interested in the player and declared their interest early in a bid to woo him, but fortunately for Barca fans there was only one team on his mind.

It was a move that, whilst acknowledging was right for him professionally, was a tough one emotionally for Rakitic, per "The move from Seville to Barcelona has been really tough. I had a really close relationship with the people there and it was the first day that my wife ever saw me cry. A new era is starting and I’ll try to help Barça be even better.

I'm really motivated. There are a lot of good players around me, and as well as learning from them, I also hope to help make them even better. I hope to do the best I can to help them with their objectives. In such a great team you have to go for it from the start."

Busy at both ends

He's certainly gone about things the right way and at the time of writing has had more touches of the ball than any other player in the entire league.

Not intent to rest on his laurels, Rakitic has busied himself in each and every game, making sure he is involved at both ends of the pitch.

His goals against Levante and Granada have been of the highest quality but are really an added bonus.

What Barca have missed, and what Rakitic provides, is industry, work-rate and tempo.

Under Tata Martino the Blaugrana seemed content to amble through matches, whereas Luis Enrique wants the fast, high-pressing game as the signature to his Barca.

New philosophy

Rakitic embodies his philosophy perfectly.

A 91 percent pass accuracy per WhoScored is up there alongside Xavi Hernandez, the player he has no doubt been brought in to replace long term.

And in the decisive moments too, Rakitic is the man for all seasons. At six foot plus, having a height advantage is obvious, as his goal against Granada proved.
It also evidences his dynamism in the role.

Jack of all trades

Essentially seen as a holding midfielder, he was up in the centre-forward position powering home a finish that any number nine would've been proud of.

Just a few minutes later he was making a perfectly timed tackle on the edge of his own box.

For just €18 million, a quarter of the price of James Rodriguez if you prefer, Barcelona have bought themselves one hell of a player.

And after giving Rakitic a standing ovation when subbed during the Granada game, it seems Barca's demanding fans have already claimed this jack of all trades as one of their own.

Which really tells you all you need to know.

La Liga

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