Ivan Rakitic celebrates his 27th birthday on 10 March and he does so in possibly the best form of his Barça career. Now firmly established as a key member of the blaugrana midfield, the Croatian has shown his vision, fitness and eye for goal in recent matches, helping Barça to the Cup Final, improve their league position and to an excellent position in their last 16 Champions League tie.
Even though he has mixed his appearances between those as a substitute and in the starting 11, Rakitic is turning out to be one of the most used midfielders by Luis Enrique. No other player in that position has enjoyed as many minutes as the former Sevilla man. In fact, the Barça coach pointed out after the Rayo game in which the Croatian played half an hour as a defensive midfielder, that he likes Rakitic “in any position, he is one of the great signings of the season, he brings a lot of tactical intelligence to the team.”
Nevertheless, his most usual position this season has been on the right hand side of midfield. In Andalusia against Granada he provided two assists and a goal to end the resistance of Abel Resino’s side. Just a few days later he put in a different performance in Manchester where he worked as hard as anyone defensively to help Barça put in an impressive performance against the Premier League Champions.
Ivan Rakitic has made 34 appearances this season and scored five goals and between now and the end of the season he has sights firmly fixed on the league title, the Spanish Cup and the Champions League, competitions he has never claimed before in his career.