sport

Rakitic: Barca an easy choice

Barcelona's latest signing Ivan Rakitic had no hesitation about moving to the Catalan club despite interest from rival clubs.

The Croatia international was the subject of a tug of war between Barca, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid but finally settled on Luis Enrique's side last month after they agreed a fee with Sevilla believed to be in the region of 15million euros.

Rakitic signed a five-year contract with Barcelona on Tuesday morning after passing a medical and was then presented to the media alongside sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.

"I thank all the clubs that were interested in me but, for me, Barcelona were the only club that existed. This is my club," said Rakitic.

"When I got the call from Zubizarreta I said 'yes' quicker than on my wedding day."

Rakitic, who began his career in Switzerland with Basel before moving to German side Schalke and then Sevilla, will wear the number four shirt vacated by Cesc Fabregas, who left Barca last month to join Chelsea.

Zubizarreta insisted that former Arsenal player Fabregas was not forced out of the club and left on his own volition.

"Fabregas gave us a different way of playing but he decided that his period at the club had come to an end and we looked for a solution," he said.

Zubizarreta also said that signing Rakitic was an "easy" decision due to his versatility.

"He can play in different positions across the midfield and will give us many options in attack," he added.

"He has an excellent shot from outside the area, is useful from free-kicks and fits into our philosophy."

Rakitic added he was delighted to wear the number four, which also used to belong to former Barca captain and coach Pep Guardiola.

He said: "Wearing the same number as Guardiola is special. He made history as a player here and I hope I can be as successful as him."