Croatia’s midfield genius, Ivan Rakitic has a high opinion of Barcelona teammate and legend, Lionel Messi, like many others. In fact, he believes that Messi would’ve had a successful career if he had chosen to take up tennis instead of football.
Croatia and Argentina have been drawn in the same group at the soon-to-start World Cup in Russia. The Barcelona teammates will lock horns on the 21st of June and when asked how the conversation with Messi went, he said, “As with all other teammates, I wished him all the luck.”
“Of course, when you have the best player in the world, you are favourites, although he says they are not. He’d give some titles with Barcelona for that one with Argentina. If Messi had played tennis, he’d won 50 Grand Slams!”
Argentina will start off their World Cup sojourn against debutants, Iceland before coming up against the Croatians in their second group game.
Croatia are said to be dark horses for the World Cup title and are definitely not walk-overs for any top team. They have a capable side with captain Luka Modric leading the charge. Players like Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Dejan Lovren all turn up for top sides like Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool in club football and had great seasons with them.
Rakitic won the double with Barcelona while Mandzukic won the Serie A and Italian Cup with Juventus. Dejan Lovren reached the Champions League final with Liverpool while captain Modric himself won the Champions League for a third consecutive time with Spanish team, Real Madrid.
Their preparation did not go according to plan though, as they lost 0-2 to Brazil in a friendly at Liverpool’s Anfield ground last night, with goals from Neymar and home-hero, Roberto Firmino sealing victory for the hosts of the previous World Cup.