Luis Enrique reveals why Barcelona signed Ivan Rakitic not Toni Kroos | Football | Sport

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Enrique is currently managing the Spain national team after winning two La Liga titles, one Champions League and three Copa del Rey trophies in three seasons at Barcelona.

The playmaker spent eight seasons as a player at the Nou Camp, having controversially joined from rivals Real Madrid.

And Enrique has now opened up on the club’s decision-making process on signing midfielder Rakitic instead of Kroos nearly five years ago.

“[Kroos] fit in as well, I remember this was our problem,” he said in an interview with Catalunya Radio.

“I would have signed both. But there wasn’t enough money. Don’t laugh!

“Andoni [Zubizarreta, who was Barcelona director of football at the time] also liked Kroos a lot. I did as well.

“I said: ‘If I can only choose one, then I sign Ivan.’ I wish I had signed both.

“But remember, when Ivan came in, it was a time in which Xavi was going to leave, but in the end Xavi didn’t leave. And Xavi, we know what Xavi means for everyone.”

Barca paid around £16million for Croatia international Rakitic from Sevilla, with the player going on to represent his country at the 2014 World Cup.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid landed Kroos for £20m during the same transfer window.

When Germany won the World Cup that summer it looked like Real had got the better deal, although Rakitic’s performance have improved and he received international recognition for helping Croatia reach the final of the world’s biggest sporting event last summer.

“Kroos is more like a pivot, Ivan can be a pivot or an interior,” Enrique continued.

“Kroos has good touch, good shooting. He would be a good interior as well, eh? Maybe he doesn’t have the profile to receive the ball in between the lines and turn.

“Maybe he doesn’t have ability to beat players one-on-one, but well, Ivan doesn’t have that either. They’re players that are alike, that are similar, but with a few exceptions.”



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