This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Ivan Rakitic has hinted that he could leave Barcelona, per 24 sata.

What did he say?

Rakitic has been a pivotal part of Barcelona’s recent success.

Shortly after arriving from Sevilla, the Croatian midfielder cemented himself as one of Blaugrana’s key players, making a total of 274 appearances for the club.

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But this season, we have seen a drastic change in his status at the club – Rakitic went from being one of the most used players to one that hardly ever plays, tallying only 186 minutes across all competitions in 2019/20.

And now, he has finally spoken up about his situation and the possibility of leaving Barcelona behind.

Here’s what he said in full:

“It’s tough because I want to play and not just be part of the team. I will do everything possible to change my situation. I have two years left on my contract and there’s no better place to play than Barcelona, the best club in the world, but I need to play and not just enjoy walks around the city and the beach. I spoke with people at the club, everyone knew I had other options. I want to fight so that the team see me ready to deliver on the pitch. I want to thank the fans for the affection they showed me this weekend, but if nothing changes, we will sit down and talk about my situation again.”

Time to say goodbye?

As Rakitic admitted himself, he did have options on the table during the summer.

Juventus were said to be interested but Barcelona reportedly wanted at least €50m (£44.9m) for the 31-year-old Croatian midfielder, and that was too much for the Italians.

The player even admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo called him himself and asked him to join but it was not to be.

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At least for now, that is.

Looking forward, it’s really unlikely that we will see Rakitic stay at Barcelona. After all, the incorporation of Frenkie de Jong and their midfield being overcrowded in general – with eight players fighting for three spots – everything points towards an exit pretty soon.

The deal couldn’t be struck in the summer but winter might bring new possibilities.

His game time has depleted drastically but the worrying thing for Rakitic could be the fact that it’s unlikely to go back up ever again. If he stays at Barcelona, he might have to get used to the bench.

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But if his words are any indication, that’s not really an option for him.

For that reason, this might be the best time to say goodbye.

D Kostanjsak