World Cup 2014: Player profile - Ivan Rakitic, the Croatia midfielder
Counting down the 100 players to look out for in Brazil this summer
Tuesday 25 March 2014
The World Cup in Brazil is coming into view and everyone is hoping this summer's carnival can take its place among some of the great tournaments of the past, but who will be the star of the show?
With 79 days to go until things kick-off, check out our latest instalment of 100 players to look out for at the competition below.
79. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)
The consistently excellent Rakitic has a fair claim to be one of world football’s most underrated players. The Sevilla captain created more chances than any other player in La Liga last season: no mean feat in a league boasting Messi, Ozil and Isco. This season, Squawka’s Player Performance Index ranks Rakitic among the top five players in the Spanish top flight, along with Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi and Iniesta, and ahead of the likes of Fabregas and compatriot Luka Modric. In many ways, Rakitic is a typical Croatian midfielder – technically sound, versatile, and creative in possession – but he has also has a much stronger work ethic than Modric and co, regularly tracking back to help out defensively. With 25 goals in 106 La Liga appearances, Croatia will look to him to supplement the goal threat of Mario Mandzukic.
Did you know? Rakitic was born in Switzerland and played for the Swiss Under-21 side – he could have lined up alongside Shaqiri and Inler had he not switched allegiances in 2007.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Gregorz Krychowiak were all linked but Wenger and Gunners fail on deadline day
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
David De Gea: Manchester United in bitter war of words with Real Madrid over failed transfer
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Anthony Martial fee: 'Add-on' includes Manchester United signing winning the Ballon d'Or
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis