Ivan Rakitic gave his views ahead of the Champions League clash between Juventus and FC Barcelona on Wednesday at 8.45pm CET in Turin. “We want to win to relax a little ahead of what is to come; it will be a great game against one of the best teams in Europe,” said the Croatian midfielder.
On recent meetings between the sides, Rakitic was honest in his appraisal: “We have to be realistic, last season they deserved the win just as we deserved the win a few months ago.”
“We want to play and compete in this competition that we love so much; we want to put in a good performance and go there and win. Last season Juventus were close to winning the Champions League, they are a great team, one of the best in Europe. We want to dominate the game but controlling it will be tough. We will have to have patience playing against a side who are full of experience and know how to manage games,” added the Barça number four.
Rakitic also touched on the subject of a certain team mate: “I see Leo in the same form as always and he knows how much the fans, the board and the dressing room appreciate him. Messi is part of the [Barça] badge and he needs to be here and I am confident he will always be here. His career has a lot to do with what Barça represents. I want to play with Leo and I think we still have a way to go together.”
The midfielder also had words for another legend of the modern game, Gigi Buffon, the Juventus captain. “I can’t teach Buffon anything, everything he has given football is huge and it’s a pleasure to compete against him tomorrow. I would give up my place in the World Cup for him; when you see him crying, you want to cry too. A player like him cannot say goodbye like that,” confessed Rakitic following the legendary goalkeeper’s failure to make to Russia with Italy.