Football

Ivan Rakitic leaves Barcelona to rejoin Sevilla

Barcelona said yesterday they had agreed to sell Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic back to Sevilla.

Under the deal, the southern side will pay the Catalan outfit 1.5 million euros (S$2.4m) plus nine million euros in variables for the 32-year-old, Barca said in a statement.

"FC Barcelona publicly express their gratitude to Rakitic for his commitment and dedication, and wish him good luck and success in the future," the statement added.

Rakitic, who had a year left on his contract at the Nou Camp, spent three seasons with Sevilla and won the Europa League in the 2013/14 season right before he made his big switch in 2014.

He was one of several Barcelona players who were reportedly told they were not part of new coach Ronald Koeman's plans.

Besides striker Luis Suarez, the others include midfielder Arturo Vidal and defender Samuel Umtiti, reported Spanish media.

Sky Sport Italia said that Vidal, who had been linked with Inter Milan, is hoping for an early termination of his contract, which ends next June.

On Monday, Lionel Messi boycotted Barca's first pre-season training session under Koeman since the Dutchman was appointed last month.

It appears increasingly likely the 33-year-old Argentinian talisman, who has been linked with a move to Manchester City, will try to force a transfer by refusing to play in La Liga. The new season begins on Sept 12. - AFP

Football