19 August 2014 05:24
Ivan Rakitic claimed he is looking forward to getting to know Luis Suarez, after his fellow new Barcelona signing made his debut.
After Suarez’s training suspension was lifted last week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Uruguayan was free to play in friendlies and made his debut against Leon at the Camp Nou on Monday, coming on for the final 13 minutes versus the Liga MX club.
Suarez is banned from playing until late October after being found guilty of biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
But Rakitic is still thrilled to have Suarez around the club from now on, which will help his new team-mates familiarise themselves with the former Liverpool striker.
“For us it is very important to have him in the locker room, working, getting to know him,” said the Croatia midfielder, who joined Barcelona from Sevilla in the close-season.
“His quality we all know, there’s not much to say there, he’s going to give us a lot of great moments. So we just have to wait for the time to pass so we can have him on the pitch with us.”
Rakitic’s claim that Suarez will provide “great moments” for Barcelona echoed coach Luis Enrique’s overall plan for the Catalan club this season.
Luis Enrique claimed he will be looking to provide a platform that allows the team’s leading players – such as Lionel Messi and Neymar – to create and score in the final third.
“Well, it think it [the performance against Leon] was very good,” the 44-year-old said.
“It’s not very difficult when two players of such quality play together, like Messi and Neymar.
“In the second half, the connection Munir El Haddadi had with Rafinha, or with Sandro Ramirez, or after with Luis Suarez [was also good].
“Today we didn’t have Pedro, who wasn’t able to play because of a stomach problem but I have many solutions, many possibilities, players with different profiles, and we are looking to have those connection between players of great quality.”
But Luis Enrique insisted Barcelona will continue to focus on a possession-based game.
“We are interested in having the possession for as long as we can,” he said.
“There were moments today were control was lost, and that is not in our interest, we want to control the games, to dominate all aspects of the game.”