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Rakitic celebrates the goal he scored versus Athletic Club at Camp Nou this season. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

[[DES_1]]Ivan Rakitic continues to prove he was a great pickup.

After coming over from Sevilla prior to last season, the Croatian midfielder has solidified his place as on of Luis Enrique's go-to players. A staple in the Catalan midfield, Rakitic is sixth on the team in total minutes played this season, ahead of everyone else on the team except Luis Suárez, Neymar, Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi.

Not only has Rakitic been key to Barça's game in the midfield, but he's also become something of a spark plug for the blaugrana attack. He opened the scoring in Saturday night's 2–0 win over Betis at the Benito Villamarín in Seville, Spain.

It was not the first time he's been able to get things moving for Barça, either. Rakitic, who has become something of a specialist in getting Barça on the scoreboard, has now opened the scoring for the team nine times since signing two summers ago.

Moreover, Saturday's goal was his ninth this season, giving him two more than the seven he scored last season. Incredibly, Rakitic is the team's fourth leading scorer after the trident (Messi–Suárez–Neymar), which has 123 goals so far this year (also besting last year's 122-goal record).

Reading further into the Croatian's scoring numbers, one can see that Barça have never lost when Rakitic has scored. In fact, they have all been wins except for a lone draw at Villarreal back in mid-March of this season.

One of his icebreakers was perhaps the biggest goal of his career, coming in the 4th minute of last season's UEFA Champions League final versus Juventus. Barça went on to win the game, 3–1, thus completing their unprecedented second treble.

Here's a look at the nine games when Rakitic opened the scoring:

Season

Competition

Stadium (Opponent)

Result for Barça

2014/15

La Liga

Los Cármenes (Granada)

3–1 win

2014/15

La Liga

Nuevo Arcángel (Córdoba)

8–0 win

2014/15

UEFA Champions League

Camp Nou (Man. City)

1–0 win

2014/15

UEFA Champions League

Olympiastadion (Juventus)

3–1 win

2014/15

Copa del Rey

Huesca (Huesca)

4–0 win

2015/16

UEFA Champions League

Borisov Arena (BATE)

2–0 win

2015/16

La Liga

Vallecas (Rayo Vallecano)

5–1 win

2015/16

La Liga

El Madrigal (Villarreal)

2–2 draw

2015/16

La Liga

Benito Villamarín (Betis)

2–0 win

Second child just arrived

Rakitic and his wife, Raquel Mauri had their second child, Adara, on Sunday morning. The midfielder spread the news via social media. Congratulations, Ivan!


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