In his post-match interview relayed via El Transistor, former Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic hinted that his contributions in Sevilla’s win over Atletico Madrid were very welcome by some of his old friends back in Catalonia.
The Andalusians prevailed in a 1-0 win against the league leaders Atleti, despite missing an early penalty. Ivan Rakitic was at the heart of things and he was also responsible for winning the penalty which Lucas Ocampos failed to convert. He was then also involved in the move that eventually led to Marcos Acuna’s winner.
In a La Liga race that is massively hotting up towards the tail-end of the season, Sevilla’s win means that Barcelona, with a win against Real Valladolid on Monday night can go within a point of Diego Simeone’s men.
Rakitic stated that despite the implications of Sevilla’s win on the title race, he was fighting for his own team’s benefit: “A friend from Barcelona had written to me, like, ‘you know what you have to do,’ but here each one fights for his own. We want to be in the Champions League.”
Rakitic triumphed over his old friend and teammate Luis Suarez on the night, who was visibly distraught about the result: “I have spoken with Luis Suárez, we had exchanged shirts at the Wanda. When you lose you don’t have friends, neither Suárez nor anyone, nobody likes to lose.”
The loss means Atletico Madrid have dropped 14 points across their last ten fixtures. Despite having massive leads at the top with multiple games in hand at various stages, Atletico are now struggling to maintain their foothold on top of the standings with Barcelona and Real Madrid in hot pursuit.
Los Colchoneros are now sitting on 66 points in first. Barcelona could move up to 65 provided they win against Valladolid, before travelling to the capital for a season-defining El Clasico.