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Ivan Rakitic is no longer a Barça player, but he will be a culer forever. Barça's No.4 for the last six seasons leaves Barça "very grateful" to everyone: players, coaches, staff members, managers and fans. "I want to thank all the culers and I hope that all of them have been able to enjoy me," he declared in his farewell speech.
The Croatian footballer, winner of 13 titles at Barça, said that he has enjoyed six "spectacular" seasons at the club. "For me there was no better way to start the day than to take the car and go to the Ciutat Esportiva to train," he noted.
We review Rakitic's statements below, from his farewell press conference in which he was accompanied by President Josep Maria Bartomeu.
His best moment
"Selecting a single moment is difficult. We have had many beautiful moments in six seasons but if I have to pick one I would say the final in Berlin. Also the Club World Cup achieved later in Japan. But each title, each league, each Super Cup is special. I am very proud of everything we have achieved and also of having been able to convey who I am, how I play."
His time at Barça
"I think my penultimate year at Barça was my best year. The 2018/19 season was the one I enjoyed the most ... but everything was marred by the Liverpool defeat."
"Over the last few seasons we have been very close to repeating what we did in 2015. Sometimes it's small details, a little luck, that was the difference between making us smile or not."
"What the club has achieved is that the seasons are only considered good if the team win a good handful of titles, and that's not easy."
Praise for Xavi and Iniesta
“Choose a team-mate? I have learned from all my team-mates and I am grateful to all of them. But if I have to choose, maybe I’ll stick with Andrés [Iniesta] or Xavi [Hernández]. Playing with them was wonderful. They both helped me a lot when I arrived. The year I met Xavi he was very important to me. And then the same with Andrés, who is one of the best friends that football has given me."
Rakitic and Iniesta.
Barça's current moment
"I don't want to think about Bayern. I'm sorry I couldn't take part in the last game. You know how I am and I always want to be out there."
“A devalued Barça? I don't think so. I talk to a lot of players, like my team-mates, and they all admire Barça. In my opinion, the first option for all players is always Barça. It is the best club in the world."
"I will follow everything that happens here and I am convinced that Barça will win many titles again."
Thank you, @IvanRakitic, for your commitment and dedication. You’ve been a fundamental part of the successes of the last several years, and a example of professionalism. You will always have a home in Barcelona and at Barça. pic.twitter.com/Te2MXEPodZ— Josep Maria Bartomeu (@jmbartomeu) September 2, 2020
A special character
"I have a very special picture of when I said goodbye to the team this morning. When I said goodbye to the cook, or to Marta, and saw her tears for my farewell, that meant a lot to me. I have always wanted to convey humility, normality, and be a good person."
“We are players and we want to do the best we can on the field. Let's fight. And for my part there has never been a lack of effort and commitment. I live football 24 hours a day.”
A fact to brag about
"It is an honour to be the foreign player with the fourth most games played in the history of Barça. There's also a stat I've been told about, that I am the one with the highest average of games played per season (51). It's a figure that's not easy to reach."
A memory for Unzué
"Apart from thanking my team-mates, coaches, managers and fans, I also want to say goodbye to a very special person, Juan Carlos Unzué. He has been a very special person for the dressing room. Also, we have the parallel of both having had a home here in Barcelona and Seville."
His future at Sevilla
"I have a great bond with Sevilla, but we will talk about that from tomorrow. Today I want to say goodbye in the best possible way to Barça."
"I will not celebrate the goals if one day I score against Barça. I will carry Barça in my heart.”
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