Rakitic: Barcelona can be as scary as Real Madrid

The Croatia international insists that his new side will be feared next season and admits he is working hard to improve ahead of the new La Liga season

Ivan Rakitic believes that Barcelona can be as feared as their bitter rivals Real Madrid in their hunt for silverware this season.

Barca failed to win a major trophy last term while Madrid captured the Champions League crown and the Spanish Cup.

Real have continued their good run of form this season after Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace helped Carlo Ancelotti’s side seal a 2-0 win in the European Super Cup over Rakitic’s former club Sevilla this week.

But, despite their impressive performance in Cardiff, Rakitic believes Barca can return to the summit of La Liga this term.

When asked about how scary Madrid had become with the arrivals of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, Rakitic told SPORT: “I respect everyone, even Madrid, but, I prefer to talk about the club.

“We work for ourselves, as every team in the league. We are also able to be scary and play well. We work every day for it.”

He added: “It is normal for the biggest teams to have this kind of rivalry [between Barcelona and Real], but we have to think about ourselves. Here we have the world’s best.”

Rakitic joined the Catalan giants from Sevilla for a reported €20 million [£15.8m] earlier this summer having won the Europa League with the Andalusians last term.

The Croatia international scored 12 goals for Sevilla last season, but, the 26-year-old has admitted that he wants to surpass that mark this term.

“I do not want to limit myself, I want to be better, if I can also improve the numbers, the better, but the important thing is the play.

“I cannot say I’m going to play like [Lionel] Messi or will overflow into the tackle like [Andres] Iniesta. People who know me from Sevilla, know it’s about my play.

“I think at Barca it will be easy to adapt with such good players. So far it is fine for me, I’m happy, but I want to keep improving in every training and every game.”

Luis Enrique’s side kick off their La Liga campaign at home to Elche on 24 August.

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