Ivan Rakitic was speaking to the media at George's Park / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Following this morning’s session at St George's Park, Ivan Rakitic spoke to the media about the way the preseason is going so far. "It’s all positive and I can sense what a big move I’ve made” he said. “We have worked hard from day one, and if things carry on like this, the fans are going to enjoy what they see this season.”

Hard work

The Croat added that "I think the general idea at Barcelona is very similar to what Unay Emery does at Sevilla, although here it’s more intense and the demands are higher. I’ve been here for 5 or 6 days, and God willing, I’ll be here for a lot more. I’m taking things gradually and enjoying every minute. The happier you are, so much the better. That’s what I look for in training. I hate losing so I’ll be doing the best I possibly can. I want to show that I’m ready for this … If you don’t pay attention in the warm-up, then things can get really physical out there.”

Versatility

Rakitic claims one of his own strongest virtues is his ability to adapt to different roles. "I enjoy myself most if I am in a position from which I can help the team” he explained. “If the team plays better in any position where I’m playing, then it’s also better for me, whether that’s in the middle, on the wing or up front. Where the team is happier is where I am happier. I need to give it 100% in whatever position the boss plays me, and he knows me perfectly well and will make his decisions … At Sevilla I played in midfield or just behind the attack, and for Croatia I was more or less the only central playmaker.”

Alongside Xavi

Playing in midfield for Barça will mean working out an understanding with new team-mate Xavi, and that’s something Rakitic is already relishing. "It’s great news that he’s staying here” said the Croat. “He’s a club symbol. It’s spectacular news and I’m so glad. I have never played with him before, but I’ve noticed how much he concentrates in training. As a younger player, I enjoy learning from people like him both on and off the pitch. It’s magnificent news.”

Messi, Neymar and Suárez

Rakitic also talked about some of his new teammates who have yet to join the training sessions, Messi, Neymar and Suárez: “They are the three best players in the world. We need to be close to them so that we can learn. The team isn’t made up of solely these three players, we all have our positions. I’m really looking forward to when they join team.”

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Rueda de prensa de Ivan Rakitic en St... por fcbarcelona

Alen Halilovic

When asked about his fellow countryman, Alen Halilovic, who plays for Barça B and is also taking part in the training camp in England, Rakitic said: “He’s a very young player and my goal is to make him feel comfortable. This is a change for me also but I know these players a bit more than he does, I can speak the language. I’m trying to be a big brother to him. I’m not surprised by his performances, it’s only a matter of time before he shows his quality in games, not just friendlies. I’m certain that he will bring us all a lot of joy.”