Ivan Rakitić is a 25-year old Swiss footballer who is currently amid speculation of a move to one of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United as the English sides are seemingly fighting it out for the player. He plays as an attacking midfielder for Sevilla and the Croatian national team. There has been a lot of speculation about a big move for the player since 2008, a year after he joined German side Schalke. In 23 starts for Schalke, at the age of 21, Rakitić totted 3 goals and 8 assists. A host of big-name clubs were interested in his services including Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Chelsea. In 2007 Rakitić joined Spanish side Sevilla, signing a four-and-a-half year contract with the club.
As of right now (midday, 17th December 2013) the attacking midfielder has played in 97 league games each for both Schalke and Sevilla, collecting 12 goals for Schalke and 20 for Sevilla. In the current La Liga campaign Rakitić has scored 7 goals in just 14 appearances, a simple bit of maths tells us that’s a goal every two games… from the midfield.
His abilities don’t just reside in goal-scoring, he also has a great record for creativity, so far in the 14 games this season Rakitić has created 25 chances for his teammates; 5 assists and 20 key passes.
The Sevilla man also has a great eye for the pass, completing 79% of his passes this season so far.
Like most, I like my midfielders to play passes toward the attackers, you know, to score the goals. This is something that Rakitić seemingly has to his game; he has played a total of 22 passes forward this season, compared to 19 backward. The majority of his passes have been long-range, averaging at 21 metres, when pairing that with the 79% pass accuracy that’s pretty impressive.
Rakitić finished tied with Arsenal’s Mesut Özil, who was playing with Real Madrid at the time, for the league lead in key passes in La Liga last season, both hitting an impressive 90 key passes. In the 2012/13 campaign the midfielder only managed to score 8 times in 34 appearances, just one more than he has done this season, in only 14 appearances. His shot does have room for improvement, he’s been a little loose with getting the ball on target in the past but he’s shown a relentless ability to pass throughout his career.
Oh he also scored by deflecting a ball off of his backside, so he has that too.
But don’t just take my word for it; take a look at this video compilation of his goals and assists of 2013, courtesy of YouTube’s LiveFor_FOOTBALL:
*All statistics and graphs taken from Squawka (www.squawka.com).
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