Ivan Rakitic

Ivan Rakitic says Barcelona is “the perfect place” for him after starting his third successive game in the 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

The Croatia international, 31, appeared destined for the exit door having grown frustrated at a lack of opportunities this season.

He had started just once – in the September loss to Granada – before being given the nod against Borussia Dortmund on November 27.

After impressing in a 3-1 Champions League win, Rakitic kept his place for La Liga victories over Atletico Madrid and Mallorca.

Rakitic joined Barcelona from Sevilla in 2014 and has won four league titles and the Copa del Rey on four occasions too, but his days at Camp Nou are thought to be numbered amid reports Italian sides Juventus and Inter are trying to sign him.

He added fuel to the growing speculation surrounding his future as the January transfer window approaches when he suggested last week he might have to leave the club to find more playing time.

But the midfielder insisted after their latest victory that he has no intention of leaving if he continues to be a first-team regular.

“Lots of things have happened in the last few months,” Rakitic said. “Sometimes, things happen that you can’t understand, but you have to accept it.

“It’s happened to me. No one gives you anything.

“I want to give my all and if I can play here then I’ve always said that there’s no better place than Barcelona to keep winning trophies, it’s the perfect place for me.

“I want to enjoy myself and try to help the team improve. I’m giving my best and if it can be like it has been in the last few games then that’s even better.

“I’m here to play and take advantage of the minutes I get to earn the trust of the coach and my team-mates.

“I’m prepared for anything.”

Barca are joint top of La Liga alongside Real Madrid after 15 games, having collected 34 points each.

The Catalan side are in action again on Tuesday when they travel to Milan to face Inter in the Champions League before they return to domestic duties with a trip to Real Sociedad.

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