Barcelona Legend Xavi Hernandez has praised his former teammate Ivan Rakitic and former Real Madrid rival Luka Modric as European underdogs Croatia prepare for their semi-final encounter against England.
In Croatia’s quarter-final clash against Russia on Saturday, the decisive penalty fell to Ivan Rakitic. After 120 minutes of action filled football, it was down to the midfielder to settle the battle as he slotted a spot-kick past Igor Akinfeev as Croatia entered the semi-final. The scenario was same when Croatia took on Denmark in the round of sixteen clashes. It was Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic who scored the decisive penalty as they entered the quarterfinals.
Both Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric has been bossing the midfield for Croatia as they have made it to the semi-finals. While Modric is someone who scuttles and scurries, determined off the ball and immaculate on it, a player who can receive a pass at other ends of the world and can return without touching the sides. Rakitic on the other end is someone who glides and cover every part of the grass without breaking a sprint.
The duo of Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric have now received praises from none other than the midfield maestro himself, Xavi Hernandez. Speaking to a Russian outlet, Hernandez said: “They are two of the most complete midfielders in the world, two modern footballers. They have it all.”
Xavi continued to praise Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic saying that he is one of the best signings Barça have made. Xavi added: “Rakitić is one of the best signings Barca have made in their history. Every day he gets better, he knows how to adapt to what the team needs, and in every moment he lives a footballing maturity that is extraordinary.”
Barcelona legend said the same for Modric as he praised him saying, “He(Modric) would have been good for Barça also, they are authentic monsters with the ball.”
The duo’s performance in the World Cup, however, is a mere continuation of their outstanding campaign with Barcelona and Real Madrid last season, where both the midfielders help their club to glory.
Xavi on Modric/Rakitic pairing: "They are 2 of the most complete midfielders I see, 2 modern footballers, they have it all. Rakitic is one of the best signings that Barça has made in their history, every day he improves and adapts. They are two authentic 'monsters' of the ball" pic.twitter.com/04V1Gqe9tK
— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) July 10, 2018
Croatia has greatly benefited from their skilful midfielders. The European underdogs will now take on England at the Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday in a bid to make it to the finals of the World Cup.
Both Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric have been instrumental as Croatia has made it to the semifinals of the World Cup for the first time in the 21’st century. The squad is mostly pulled from the upper echelons of Serie A, La Liga, and the Bundesliga, with a goalkeeper in Danijel Subasic who has successfully passed through two penalty shootouts. Let’s see whether they’ll be able to make it to finals or not.