Ivan Rakitic's is not Barcelona's most used player this season (2,824 minutes) because Pique, Ter Stegen and Jordi Alba have played more football than him, but he remains a key pillar of Ernesto Valverde's side.
Valverde was key last summer in Rakitic's decision to remain at Barça and to reject some big offers, such as the one presented by Paris Saint-Germain. On March 10 he will turn 31, but the midfielder still has a good reputation around Europe, who see a player who offers guaranteed performances at the top level.
The clubs that are interested in Rakitic value that he's an extreme professional right down to the smallest details. He misses very few games in a season and appears to have more years in him before he thinks about retirement.
WAITING ON A GESTURE
Every time he's had the chance, Rakitic has expressed his desire to continue at Camp Nou, where he feels very comfortable and well valued. Valverde, a few days ago, expressed his desire for the Croatian to stay: "The club will take the steps they think are necessary for the team to have the best players in the world and Ivan's an important player for us."
Valverde's expressed himself in similar terms in private. He did so last summer and he's not changed his opinion. Rakitkc's teammates are also delighted with him and hope stays, but understand he's assessing a change of scenery next season.
That's because if Barça do not make a gesture and offer him the contract which president Josep Maria Bartomeu promised him, Rakitic could abandon the club he joined in 2014.
WIFE THE KEY
Whatever he decides, Rakitic's decision will be influenced by his wife, Raquel Mauri. The couple have two daughters and the player himself has explained many times that his family's happiness is a factor when he decides what to do. In this sense, his partner, from Seville, is much more attracted to the idea of Milan than Manchester of even London. That fact, without doubt, pushes him towards Inter, the clear favourite to sign him if he leaves.