Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic says he is open to a move to the Premier League despite turning down a move to Chelsea earlier in his career, the Croatian has claimed in an interview with FourFourTwo.
The Swiss-born Croatia international had the opportunity to join the Premier League giants at the age of 17, but snubbed a move in order to remain with FC Basel.
Rakitic used the case of Jonas Elmer to highlight the dangers of moving to a top European club at such a young age.
“I wanted to stay at home,” he says.
“I had a really special relationship with the president of Basel. It was much better for me to do pre-season with the first team there and then work my way gradually to the top.
“There was another guy in my situation, Jonas Elmer, who moved from Zurich to Chelsea at the age of 17. He ended up playing in the second division in Switzerland.
“Maybe that could have been me. I don’t want to say it’s always better to stay where you are in that situation, but my decision was to stay at home with my family and it worked well for me.”
Rakitic starred for Basel before making the move to German giants Schalke, where he spent four seasons before joining Sevilla.
He enjoyed a stellar stint with the Andalusian club, becoming the side’s captain and achieving a Europa League triumph.
Barcelona then came calling, and the Croat surprised many after fitting in seamlessly with the Catalan’s side’s expansive style of football.
However, Rakitic says he is certainly open to one day making the move to the Premier League.
“Of course, I like it very much. A lot of my friends are playing in the Premier League; it’s a different style of football and I always enjoy playing in Europe against English teams. Maybe one day I can play there, too,” Rakitic said.
“I like how every game is always intense and how everybody lives for football. You can have a game like Crystal Palace vs Stoke where both teams are strong, powerful, fully committed and the crowd are fully behind their team.”
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