Barcelona recognizes Ivan Rakitic’s impressive 2017/18 campaign by handing him the club’s personal award, the Premi Barca Jugadors.
Only the second non-La Masia player wins the award
The Croatia international received the 9th edition of the Premi Barca Jugadors award for his outstanding performances during the previous season, online sportsbook news report. It’s a gong that has been given out annually by Barcelona since 2009/10, and it highlights a footballer’s fair play attitude during the last campaign.
Rakitic, who has won both the league and the cup with the Catalan side in 2017/18, expressed his joy at winning the award, which marks only the second time a non-La Masia player has received it, with the first player being Javier Mascherano for 2014/15. The other players who have clinched the fair play gong are: Bojan Krkic (2009/10), Andres Iniesta (2010/11), Xavi Hernandez (2011/12 and 2012/13, Carles Puyol (2013/14), Leo Messi (2015/16) and Sergi Roberto (2016/17).
“It’s an honour to win this award. It will be given price of place at home,” said the 30-year-old. “There is nothing nicer than being at the best club in the world. I feel fortunate to be able to defend this badge.”
The award comes at the heels of Rakitic scoring a stunning long-range shot outside of the box against Tottenham in last week’s Champions League group stage. It is considered one of the finest strikes in his career, especially since his main task is not to score goals, but rather make space and create opportunity with his passing skills and advanced gameplay.
The Croatian has a full trophy cabinet
Rakitic joined the Catalan powerhouse from Sevilla in the summer of 2014, which was the time of intense restructuring that saw the overhaul of the squad and the appointment of then manager Luis Enrique. He managed to fit right into the team almost instantly as he became a regular starter, and was even picked on plenty occasions over the talismanic Xavi Hernandez.
It only took Rakitic one season to collect silverware with the Blaugrana side as the all-conquering Barcelona clinched the treble (La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey) in 2014/15 with Rakitic appearing in 51 games overall. He even scored one of the three goals in the Champions League final against Juventus that helped Barcelona lift their fifth European title, per online sportsbooks in Spain.
Consistency seems to be one of the utmost traits of the Croat, as he’s managed to make more than 50 appearances across all competitions in each of the seasons so far. Rakitic’s insight and reading of the game is indispensable for the club, which have seen him time and time again provide crucial passes and score goals that have made the difference. So it’s no surprise he’s been able to keep a regular place in the team.
Is trophy haul with Barcelona stands at one three La Liga title, one Champions League crown and four Copa del Rey medals, among others. With the Croatian national side, he holds a silver medal from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where Croatia reached the final, but sadly lost to France in the end.