Massimiliano Mirabelli, Milan's sporting director under Yonghong Li, revealed in an interview with 'calciomercato.com' a secret meeting that he had with the Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who he wanted to convince to move to the Italian club. At the time, Rakitic was in talks over a new deal at Camp Nou.
"I will reveal something that I have never told anyone before," Mirabelli said. "When I worked for Milan, I went to Barcelona to try and sign Ivan Rakitic. He was negotiating a new contract with Barça and I was hoping he would listen to other offers for his future.
"We got to his place and from the garage a lift took us up to his house. He was excited, he told me that if he didn't renew with Barcelona, he would seriously have considered our offer.
"That chat marked me. I met a champion that had nothing other than football in his head. His daily life is built around his sporting career, from the food he eats, to his rest, to his free time between training. In the end, he renewed with Barça, but I had the pleasure of meeting a great sportsman."
Rakitic is once again on the agenda of a number of Italian clubs, among them Milan. Inter and Juventus are also interested but the Croatian would like to return to Sevilla.