Official: Rakitic retires from Croatia national team

Sevilla midfielder and former Barcelona player Ivan Rakitic announced on Monday that, at 32 years old, he is leaving the Croatia team after wearing the checkered jacket 106 times and reaching second place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“Saying goodbye to the Croatian national team is the most difficult decision of my career, but I felt that it was the moment when I had to make that decision,” said Rakitic in a statement from the Croatian Football Federation (HNS).

The hitherto second captain of the national team was one of the key players in the 2018 World Cup, when he transformed the decisive penalties in the victories against Denmark and Russia.

“I enjoyed every game I played for my country and the unforgettable moments of the World Cup, which will remain among my favorite memories,” added Rakitic, who scored a total of 15 goals for the Croatian team.

“I am convinced that we still have a great team with a bright future ahead of us. I wish my friends and teammates all the luck in the international arena in the upcoming challenges, and they will have their most loyal fan in me,” added the midfielder on his farewell.

Rakitic spoke about his decision with the coach, Zlatko Dalic, the president of the Federation, Davor Suker, and with the captain, Luka Modric, and in the coming days he will explain his decision more extensively to the Croatian fans.