UEFA Champions League 2016/17: Ivan Rakitic full of praise for Pep Guardiola
Speaking at a news conference ahead of Barcelona’s crunch encounter against Manchester City, Croatian international Ivan Rakitic hailed Pep Guardiola as a great manager, one who he who would like to play under someday, and revealed how he idolised the current City boss.
Rakitic said that the Manchester City manager was a major factor in his decision to move to the Nou Camp in 2014 from Sevilla, claiming he took over the former Barcelona captain's number four jersey in the hopes of emulating his idol in front of the Blaugrana faithful.
A year after Guardiola moved to Bayern, Rakitic made the switch the Barcelona, and the former Sevilla man has enormous admiration for the City boss and his achievements in his playing career.
“When I took the No 4 jersey it was purely because of him. It was a great opportunity. I took it with both hands. He was one of the best in the world. Your team-mates tell you all about him.
“I hope he is really successful in the future after tomorrow. It would be great to play for him one day. If I don’t, he can come for a coffee!”
Rakitic is wary of the threat posed by Guardiola’s City side, despite Barcelona’s 4-0 thrashing of City a fortnight ago at the Nou Camp. The Croatian believes Sergio Aguero is one of the best strikers in the world and hopes the Argentine talisman has an off day in their Champions League clash.
“We know Aguero is one of the best in the world. When he starts to score it is not bad for the other team. We hope that his goals on Saturday will be the last for a few days. It will be really hard for us to play against another striker,” he said
Rakitic also spoke about the loss of captain Andres Iniesta to injury and admits Barcelona will have to work harder in the absence the Spaniard.
The Champions League group stage game will pit Pep Guardiola and Manchester City against Luis Enrique’s Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium. Barcelona top Group C with three wins in three, while City have won one, drawn one and lost one this season.
Their only loss of the campaign so far was against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
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