Ivan Rakitic has been one of the most important midfielders in Barcelona's recent history. The Croatian's statistics highlight his importance: in his first five seasons with the club, he was always one of them ost used players by Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde. But he has not been needed in his sixth season.
He should have accepted one of the good offers that arrived last summer, when the previous coach, Valverde, told him he didn't have a big role for him anymore, with Barça backing Arthur Melo and Frenkie de Jong. Rakitic, however, wanted to remain at Camp Nou... and he made a mistake. Even though he has played regularly under Quique Setien, prior to that he had played less than 40 percent of the total minutes.
His time at Barcelona -- spectacular, without a doubt -- is becoming stained by this forced and unnecessary ending. It's strange, therefore, that he is still insisting on another season as Barça offer him as a makeweight in a number of possible deals. He says he wants to speak with the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. For what? His contract is up in a year and the club want to sell now for the financial benefits (even if it's just to bring the cost down of another player) keeping in mind he's been paid for. In football and economic terms.
It's not easy to leave Barça. Not at all. It's even harder to understand that your time has passed. But Rakitic must pay honour to the huge professionalism he has shown in his time at the club and accept a dignified departure. Resisting, and running down his contract, would only condemn him to the bench -- or the stands.