2 July 2014 10:14
Croatia playmaker Ivan Rakitic insists he was comfortable playing in a deeper role for his country at the FIFA World Cup.
Niko Kovac’s side were eliminated from Group A after rounding off the opening round of fixtures with a 3-1 defeat to Mexico – who went through in second behind Brazil.
Rakitic was deployed as a holding midfielder behind the likes of Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic throughout the tournament, after an impressive season in front of goal with Sevilla prior to the Brazil trip.
Despite heading to South America with 15 goals and 18 assists under his belt from a stunning campaign in Spain, Rakitic was happy to fit in with Kovac’s plans and does not believe his position contributed to their downfall.
“The coach and I agreed to play in this way, there was no dispute,” he told Jutarnji List.
“I find these stories pointless, just with the aim to make a mess.
“For me, this role is not slightly a mystery, nor was it foreign to me. I didn’t have to change my game.
“Until the defeat with Mexico, everything was great. Our competitors, and many others, highlighted our midfield, they even said it was better than Brazil’s.
“Yes, Luka and I can show even better, but I don’t doubt that we will in the future.”
Rakitic will face yet another new challenge next season, having agreed a move to Barcelona during the World Cup.