Ivan Rakitic: the Croatian with Swiss sweater

Ivan the Inevitable, playing his fifth major tournament with the Croats. That was however not written in the stars: earlier, it was the 30-year-old midfielder for the Swiss youth teams.

Ivan Rakitic © Belga Image

“My parents are from Croatia but immigrated to Switzerland just before the start of the Bosnian War because they are the danger sensed to be coming, “wrote Ivan Rakitic on The Players’ Tribune, the online platform, where athletes of all disciplines, their eggs could have been lost.

“I grew up in Switzerland and verafgoodde Robert Prosinecki. He was a hero for the Croats and played for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Seville when I was a child. For me, schooling in Switzerland, surrounded by Swiss friends, was my Croatian identity is connected to Prosinecki and the national team.”

Together with father Luka, mother Kata, older brother Dejan and a sister, Nikol lived Ivan in Möhlin, a municipality on the Rhine to the border with Germany.

Visit of Bilic

At the age of four, he signed his first terminal board at the local football club, FC Möhlin-Riburg. A few years later hijacked the nearby FC Basel the 7-year-old talent way. He walked the jeugdreeksen before 2005 debut for the main power in the UEFA Cup match against NK Siroki Brijeg.

The following year, grew Rakitic to a fixed value and he won the Swiss cup. The blonde playmaker scored 11 times and was voted Best Young Player of the Super League.

To the U21 defended Rakitic the flag of his native country, but then began its roots to him to gnaw. The former national coach Slaven Bilic visited the young man personally in an attempt to convince him to the land of his father and mother to choose.

Blue-red link

The advances of Bilic missed their effect is not. To the dismay of the Swiss football league made Rakitic in 2007 his debut for Croatia.

“I understand completely how they feel’, he told us about that Swiss breakage to “But I also hope that my position can be understood because it is still not easy for me. Your heart wants to be in a certain place, but your head thinks something else, something perhaps even better for you. They spent a lot of money to me to develop and to get me on the road to help. I remember that I had the chance to me in the first team for two international matches, but something in me said, ” Wait just a little longer.’ Finally I had to my heart to listen.’

Rakitic’ current club FC Barcelona and FC Basel have nearly identical jerseys. The red-and-blue vertical stripes according to the tradition introduced by Johan Gamper, the Swiss guy who Barça in 1899 founded and in their own country when Basel played soccer.

Blaugrana, the nickname of the team, Thomas Vermaelen, is a Catalan expression, and refers to the club colours: (dark)blue and (garnet)red. How to play the Croatian midfielder still with a ‘Swiss’ shirt…

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