Rakitić with Sevilla in 2013
|Full name||Ivan Rakitić|
|Date of birth||10 March 1988|
|Place of birth||Möhlin, Switzerland|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 March 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Rakitić started his professional career at FC Basel and spent two seasons with them before was signed by Schalke 04. After spending three and a half seasons in German Bundesliga, he was signed by Sevilla FC in January 2011. Two years later, Rakitić was confirmed as the club captain.
On the international level, Rakitić plays for the Croatia national team. Although naturally a product of Switzerland's youth level, Rakitić pledged his international career to his native parentage of Croatia instead. He made his debut for Croatia in 2007 and has since represented the country at UEFA Euro 2008 and UEFA Euro 2012.
Rakitić was born in Möhlin to a Croatian family. His parents emigrated to Switzerland before the war in Croatia. His father, Luka, and his family are originally from Sikirevci, while his mother's family are Bosnian Croats from Žepče. He has a brother Dejan, and has a tattoo supporting him with the word "Dejan" on his right arm. Rakitić spent his childhood and early career in Switzerland. His father and older brother were also footballers. With such a background, it was no surprise when Rakitić took a strong interest in the same aspirations, even as he was completing his primary school studies. Subsequent to doing so, he began to concentrate on his sporting career, with his family's encouragement. At age 16, he was noticed by top European scouts who acclaimed his young potential, although he and his family decided to stay in Basel to allow him to play more regularly in a smaller league instead.
After spending some short time in the youth teams, Rakitić went on to make his first-team debut for Basel on 29 September 2005 during the UEFA Cup away match at Široki Brijeg. He made his first Swiss Super League appearance on 15 April 2006 in Basel's away match against Neuchâtel Xamax. Although these two matches were the only ones he played during his first professional season with Basel, he went on to establish himself as a regular contributor in his second season, scoring 11 goals in 33 Super League appearances. Also making nine UEFA cup appearances during this time, he was named the best young player of the 2006–07 Super League season along with receiving the Swiss Goal of the Year award for an impressive goal he scored against St Gallen.
After an impressive showing as a teenager, Rakitić was again acclaimed by large European clubs who expressed interest in his young ability. Subject to such, he was eventually signed by German side Schalke 04 on 22 June 2007, for €5 million.
He made his debut for Schalke on 21 July 2007 in the Premiere Ligapokal fixture against Karlsruher SC, and eventually appeared in the remaining two matches as Schalke finished runners-up. On 5 August 2007, Rakitić scored his first competitive goal for his new club in their 9–0 away win over Eintracht Trier in the first round of the German Cup.
On 10 August 2007, the new Bundesliga season was commenced with a clash between champions Stuttgart and Schalke. Rakitić came on as a second half substitute and scored his first Bundesliga goal within just seven minutes on the field, as his side eventually contracted a 2–2 draw. On 15 September 2007, he managed to make impressions again by scoring the only goal for Schalke in their 1–1 away draw at Bayern Munich. Three days later, Rakitić made his Champions League debut in the 1–0 home defeat to Valencia. He then went on to make a total of seven appearances in the 2007–08 Champions League season, including a strong and very impressive midfield role in Schalke's home fixture against Chelsea in the group stage. He and current teammate Mladen Krstajić were temporarily cut from the squad the night before Schalke's next fixture against Rosenborg due to being caught skipping training and taking part in a late night partying. Helping his side prevail in the penalty shootout against Porto to reach the quarter finals for the first time, Rakitić had to miss both the fixtures of such against Barcelona due to an ankle injury sustained in training. He was kept out of action for a month as Schalke were eliminated from the tournament without him. Shortly upon his returning from injury, Rakitić discovered top form as he scored a goal and assisted another two in the vital 3–0 victory at Bochum, which made sure Schalke finished at least third in league table and secured a place in the next Champions League. He continued such form in the next fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt, assisting Mladen Krstajić for the only goal of the match to conclude with Schalke a positive home season. In total, he finished his first Bundesliga season with three goals and ten assists in 29 appearances. The subsequent season started well for Rakitić as he played in Schalke's 3–0 victory over Hannover 96, assisting two goals in the opening fixture.
On 28 January 2011, Rakitić signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Spanish club Sevilla FC, for a fee of €2.5 million. Upon his arrival, Rakitić was immediately included in the starting eleven of the team, making his debut on 6 February 2011 against Málaga CF. In next game against Racing de Santander he scored an own-goal, but managed to get back on the track and scored his first goal for Sevilla in the match against Hércules CF in the next round. Due to a fractured foot, Rakitić had to miss the last four La Liga fixtures. He scored five goals in his first half-season with Sevilla in 2010–11 La Liga, being a starter in all 13 matches since his arrival and before the foot injury.
During the 2011–12 La Liga, he continued to be the first team regular and one of the crucial Sevilla players. Due to managerial changes and new tactical schemes introduced by the new coach Marcelino, who was later replaced by Míchel, Rakitić was given a different role on the pitch than the one he had the previous season, when he was used as central midfielder under coach Gregorio Manzano. During the course of the season he was mostly deployed as a defensive midfielder. By the end of the season he made total of 39 appearances for the club, provided six assists, and scored one goal in the Spanish Cup. This turned out to be his only goalless La Liga season while playing for Sevilla.
Rakitić started the 2012–13 La Liga season by providing an assist in the opening match against Getafe CF. On 12 September, he provided another assist for Piotr Trochowski in home 1–0 win against Real Madrid. He scored his first goal of the season in the Matchday 5 against Deportivo de La Coruña. Rakitić scored two goals in the opening 20 minutes of the second Seville derby of the season, against their cross-city rivals Real Betis. This was his third goal of the season against Sevilla's cross-city rivals, given the fact that he had also scored in the first Seville derby of the season, when Sevilla celebrated 5-1 victory. During the match against Real Sociedad Rakitić added two goals to his tally, however, the second one was an own goal, tying things up at 1-1 after he scored the first goal to give his club 1-0 lead. Until the end of the season, he made total of 42 appearances for the club, and scored twelve goals for the team, of that three in the Spanish Cup. He finished the season with 10 league assists. Statistics showed that Rakitić created 100 chances in total and ranked fourth across all players in Europe that season in terms of chances created.
In the beginning of the 2013–14 La Liga season, coach Unai Emery named Rakitić as the new Sevilla's captain. Since the beginning of the season he was one of the most prominent players of the league, scoring the first goal and assisting for the second in away 3–2 lose against FC Barcelona on 14 September. In the two last games of September he scored two goals in away 4-1 win against Rayo Vallecano, and assisted for the draw 1-1 goal against Real Sociedad. In the three last games of October, Rakitić scored a goal in home 2-0 win against SC Freiburg, home 2-1 win against UD Almería, and two goals in away 7-3 lose against Real Madrid. In the third and fourth games of November he contributed an assist in away 1-3 win against RCD Espanyol, and two more respectively in home 4-0 win against Real Betis. In the last game of December, and first part of the season, he assisted in away 1-2 win against Villarreal CF, helping the team reach a top ten position after a dissappointing start of the season, as well attracting attention from other international clubs. In the first game of 2014, he scored a goal in home 3-0 win against Getafe CF. During January he scored two more La Liga goals for Sevilla, against Atlético Madrid and Levante UD, while also missing a penalty kick in the latter fixture. These performances earned him a La Liga Player of the Month award.
Rakitić's first international experience camed at youth level, while competed with the Swiss under-17, under-19 and under-21 national teams, but decided to take up the call by Slaven Bilić and play for the Croatia senior national team. He made his full international debut for Croatia on 8 September 2007 in their Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia in Zagreb, Croatia, highly praised by the fans as he was entering the game as a substitute. In Croatia's following qualifier, a 6–0 away win over Andorra on 12 September 2007, he scored his first international goal for Croatia in only his second appearance for the team. He finished the year 2007 with five senior international caps to his name, four of which were in the successful Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
In early May 2008, he joined the Croatia's squad for the Euro 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland, where he was the second-youngest player. He made his first appearance at the tournament as a starter against Germany, and eventually provided a shot which ricocheted off the post and allowed teammate Ivica Olić to score the second goal in their 2–1 victory. He formed a praised trio of Croatian attacking midfielders with his teammates Luka Modrić and Niko Kranjčar. Though playing a strong role against Turkey in the quarter finals of the tournament, Rakitić went on to miss one of the three unsuccessful penalties in the shootout, thus leading to a victory for Turkey.
2010 FIFA World Cup campaign
Rakitić continued to appear regularly for Croatia during their unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, making a total of 10 appearances and scoring three goals in the competition. On 15 October 2008, he scored a brace in a 4–0 win at home to Andorra. On 5 September 2009, he scored the match-winning goal in a 1–0 win at home to Belarus. Croatia failed to qualify for the finals after finishing third in their group.
After appearing in all of their Euro 2012 qualifiers, he was selected to be part of the Croatian squad at EURO in Poland. Croatia were drawn in Group C together with Spain, Italy and Ireland. Rakitić started in all three of Croatia group stage matches against Republic of Ireland, Italy and Spain. After two matches played, Croatia had 4 points and were facing defending champions Spain in Gdansk. With the game goalless and entering the final half hour, Rakitić burst into the Spanish penalty area but could not direct his header past Iker Casillas after being picked out by a wonderful Luka Modrić pass. It proved to be a costly miss, with Spain's Jesus Navas tucking home an 88th-minute winner to send the Croatians crashing out. Despite missing the best chance of the game, Rakitić was Croatia's busiest player with 53 touches, their most frequent crosser with six crosses and shooter with two shots.
2014 FIFA World Cup campaign
Style of play
Rakitić is commonly deployed for his very mature and strong playing style. While playing in the Bundesliga with Schalke, he was mainly used as a held back playmaker and capable of creating attacks thanks to his vision and also holding the ball well to keep possession. He is, to a much lesser extent, also known for contributing to defense which is only seen when his club would play a defensive game. He often is chosen to take set pieces for both Schalke and Croatia.
While playing at international level, Rakitić has also been used in a more forward position by recent coach Slaven Bilić. His ability is also used to great effect combined with Croatia's touch and move football which sees many passing along the pitch and also gives him the ability to make many runs on the left flank to create attacks. He has shown a great knowledge of offense in many games, and his delivery and unexpected shot accuracy with both feet are also among his strengths. During Euro 2008 in Austria and his native Switzerland, he formed part of a widely praised trident of attacking midfielders deployed by Slaven Bilic, along with his team-mates Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ivan Rakitić.|
- Sevilla official profile
- La Liga profile
- Ivan Rakitić – FIFA competition record
- Ivan Rakitić – UEFA competition record