Rakitic celebrates a goal against Bate Borisov/ MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Ivan Rakitic has been named Croatian sportsman of the year 2015. The Barça midfielder was unable to attend the ceremony because he was busy preparing for today’s Liga fixture against Deportivo, but was able to discuss the honour with Barça TV: "I am very happy and proud to have had such a nice year” he said. “This prize is huge motivation to try to do even better next year.”

Rakitic has had a wonderful year both on an individual and team level. He’s won four major titles with his club (Copa del Rey, Liga, Champions League and European Super Cup) and will be hoping to make that five by adding the Club World Cup later this month. And his national side is through to the Euro 2016 finals, where he told our cameras that he’s hoping to achieve great things in France next summer.

This is the first time that the Barça player has received the accolade, and he’s only the third footballer since Croatian independence to collect the award, which has been dominated over the years first by Goran Ivanišević (tennis) and later by Ivica Kostelić (skiing), with five wins each.

The only footballers to have been honoured previously have been Davor Suker and Mario Mandzukic. "To be honest, knowing how much football history we have in Croatia, with such great players, I’m very proud to only be the third” says Rakitic.

The women’s award was collected for the fourth year in a row by discus thrower Sandra Perković.

Ivan Rakitic named Croatian Sportsman of the Year por fcbarcelona
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