The international break is a two week period that is dreaded by every single football club because of the injuries that it can lead to. Barcelona’s star man has been victimized this time out.
Ivan Rakitic asked to be substituted in the 67th minute of Croatia’s 3-2 win over Spain on Wednesday evening after seeming to have a problem with his right hamstring. Croatia’s manager Zlatko Dalic has now confirmed that the former Sevilla midfielder has been released from the national squad and will head back to Barcelona for tests.
“He will go to Barcelona, it’s a serious injury. You know that I usually take no risk. If there is a doubt that the injury could be serious, then we let him rest,” Dalic told Sky Sports. “We want healthy players and Ivan in this moment is not 100 percent ready. Unfortunately, we are going to play without him.”
Ivan Rakitic has won over 100 caps from Croatia and was a major entity in their squad which finished second in the FIFA World Cup 2018 this year in Russia. The 30 year old’s injury is a blow to Croatia and Barcelona as well, but the Croatian boss has insisted that there are quality players to replace Ivan Rakitic.
“We will see who will replace him. We have [Mateo] Kovacic, we have [Josip] Brekalo, we have [Milan] Badelj,” he added. “There is always a solution and we should stop whining about someone who’s not going to be there. We will find a solution and we are going to Wembley to enjoy football.”
Given how important Ivan Rakitic was for Croatia, it will be a major loss for them now that the 30 year old has been ruled out of the game against England which will decide the Nations League group. A win for either would mean that they qualify into the next stage, but a draw would hand Spain the top spot in their group.
While an injury is always a big disadvantage for a player and his team, it’s Ernesto Valverde who deserves all the blame for this. After playing in over 70 matches in the last one year, the midfielder was expected to get rest at Barca, but the 54 year old continually played him to a point where it was certain that fatigue would take its toll. As it is, Rakitic will miss the match at Atletico Madrid through suspension, but it will be expensive for Barcelona if he misses anything more.