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 1 December 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Ivan Rakitić (born 10 March 1988) is a Croatian footballer who captains Spanish La Liga club Sevilla FC. He plays for the Croatian national team on international level. Rakitić started his professional career at Basel and spent two seasons with them before establishing popularity for his time in the German Bundesliga with Schalke 04. After spending three and a half seasons in Bundesliga, he was signed by Spanish La Liga club Sevillla in January 2011. Two years later, Rakitić was confirmed as the club captain. 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 the Croatian national team 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. 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 FC 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. He was seen by their head coach, Mirko Slomka, to be a replacement for Brazilian midfielder Lincoln, who left the club for Galatasaray.
He made his debut for Schalke on 21 July 2007 in the Premiere Ligapokal fixture against Karlsruhe, 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.
On 28 January 2011, Rakitić signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Spanish club Sevilla FC. 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 Real Racing Club 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. 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.
In the 2011–12 La Liga, he established himself as the first team regular and one of the crucial Sevilla FC players. During the season he made total of 36 appearances and provided six assists, but failed to score a goal.
He started his 2012–13 La Liga season by providing an assist in the opening match against Getafe CF. He provided another assist for Piotr Trochowski on Matchday 4 in Sevilla 1–0 win against Real Madrid. He scored his first goal of the season in the Matchday 5 against Deportivo La Coruña on 24 September.
Although he had previously competed with the Swiss under-17, under-19 and under-21 national teams, Rakitić decided to take up the call by Slaven Bilić and play for the Croatia at senior level. His decision to decline the original country of his birth sparked much anger from the right-wing Swiss People's Party.
He made his debut for Croatia on 8 September 2007 in their Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia in Zagreb, 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 was added to 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.
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 the Euro 2012 tournament and Slaven Bilić departure from Croatia, Rakitić continued to perform as regural starter under new manager Igor Štimac in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. On 12 October 2012 he scored an amazing goal against Macedonia in Philip II Arena, converting a free kick to secure Croatia 1–2 win.
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.
Ivan has a brother, Dejan, who also played football shortly before suffering a major injury which put him out of action permanently. Rakitić has a tattoo supporting him with the word "Dejan" on his right arm. He is fluent in Swiss German, Croatian, Spanish and English. On 10 April 2013, Rakitić married his Spanish girlfriend, Raquel, with whom he is expecting a baby girl in early July 2013.
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- "RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION". Yanks Abroad. 17 August 2008. Retrieved 2008.
- "Rakitić opts for Sevilla, Medel to follow". UEFA. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- "Velika počast za Hrvata: Ivan Rakitić novi kapetan Seville!" (in Croatian). gol.dnevnik.hr. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
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- "Rakitic family terror in Switzerland". 21 August 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "Swiss sad at losing Rakitić to Croatia". Rakitić homepage.[dead link]
- "Lehmann zweitältester Spieler – Italien älteste Elf" (in German). Eurosport. 31 May 2008. Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
- "Klasnić comeback thrills Rakitić". uefa.com. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
- "Rakitic, Ivan" (in German). kicker.de. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- "I. Rakitić". Soccerway. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Sevilla official profile
- La Liga profile
- BDFutbol profile
- Ivan Rakitić at fussballdaten.de (German)
- Ivan Rakitić Worldfootball profile
- Ivan Rakitić at National-Football-Teams.com
- Ivan Rakitić – FIFA competition record