January 29, 2017 - 12:12am
The 28-year-old fends off comparisons to his midfielder predecessor and reiterates his commitment to Barcelona despite reduced playing time this term
Ivan Rakitic insists that there is no way that he could replace Xavi at Barcelona.
The Croatian signed for the Catalans in 2014 - what proved to be Xavi's last season at Camp Nou - and won a treble of La Liga, the Champions League and Copa del Rey that term.
He went on to form a key part of Luis Enrique's plans in his first two seasons, while he has made 14 league appearances this season as Barcelona seek a third straight title.
However, Rakitic is adamant that he never thought of himself as Xavi's direct successor in midfield, stating that such a thing does not exist in football and insisting that he does not want to be compared to any of his team-mates, past or present.
"First point: replacing Xavi? That doesn't exist," the 28-year-old told Jot Down. "Secondly, I would like not to be compared with anyone, I want to be myself and give the team what I can.
"I don't dribble like Leo Messi, score like Luis Suarez, give passes like Andres Iniesta [and] I'm not always switched on like Gerard Pique but I think I add my qualities.
"With respect to Barca, maybe [the style has changed a little] but, if a team offers you that possibility, if they press high and leave space behind, it would be absurd not to emply [different tactics]. It would be to do what the rival wants.
"One thing is the players you have in your team, another is the way you have to plan keeping in mind the opposition."
Rakitic has been rotated more often this season as Luis Enrique explores his midfield options between summer arrivals Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez, with Rakitic increasingly linked with the exit door.
However, he says that he is at peace with his coach's decisions and, while he is keen to play, will continue to bide his time and give his best for the club.
"It's the manager's plan and you have to understand that," Rakitic added. "I would have liked to play more minutes but it's Luis Enrique's decision, he's in charge.
"What I can try is to show that I'm needed, even if sometimes I need to be given a break. I have to show that he can count on me and, if it's not possible [to play], to make sure he knows I'm at 100 per cent.
"You have to understand the role everyone has, like in any company. In a bar each person does their job; there's the barman, the waiter, someone else in the kitchen - it's the same at Barca.
"I would like to score all the goals Neymar, Messi and Suarez score but each person has to improve the team with what they can add."