Ivan Rakitić 'Unsure' Whether Arturo Vidal Played More Because of Friendship With Lionel Messi

Tom Gott
Sep 6, 2020, 11:30 AM GMT+1
Ivan Rakitic discussed Arturo Vidal's role at Barcelona
Ivan Rakitic discussed Arturo Vidal's role at Barcelona | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

After a frustrating season with Barcelona, midfielder Ivan Rakitić recently completed a return to former side Sevilla.

Rakitić did feature in 31 La Liga games last season, but just 16 of those came as a starter as he found himself towards the bottom of the pecking order at Camp Nou.

One player he appeared to be behind was Arturo Vidal, which prompted speculation that the Chilean's close relationship with Lionel Messi helped earn him more opportunities.

Speaking to COPE after joining Sevilla, Rakitić hardly seemed shocked when asked about that rumour, and while he declined to say anything too incriminating, he did confess that he didn't always understand the manager's decisions.

"I don't know about that," he insisted. "I always wanted to be available for the coach and there were some decisions I didn't understand, but I accepted them for the good of the group."

Messi is believed to be incredibly appreciative of Vidal's no-nonsense play style and willingness to give his all on the field in search of a victory, while it is reported that the Argentine's children are also understood to see Vidal as one of their favourite players.

Messi & Vidal are close on and off the pitch
Messi & Vidal are close on and off the pitch | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

With Barcelona looking for a way to appease Messi, who recently admitted he had been considering leaving Camp Nou for the entire 2019/20 season, many fans have accepted this conspiracy theory about Vidal.

"I can't say we were best friends but Leo has always treated me well," Rakitic added. "He didn't talk to me about his wish to leave. I've only learnt about this through the media."

Vidal is expected to join Inter
Vidal is expected to join Inter | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

At the end of the day, Vidal is expected to meet the same fate as Rakitić this summer. A move to Inter to reunite with Antonio Conte is on the cards for Vidal, who may even end up having his contract terminated to facilitate the move.

Barcelona hope to cut their wage budget by offloading fringe players like Vidal, with Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum understood to be top of manager Ronald Koeman's list of replacements.

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