Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has spoken out regarding the Spanish giants’ Champions League defeat to Liverpool back in May 2019 where Jurgen Klopp’s European champions produced one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the competition.
Despite trailing by three goals following a 3-0 defeat at Camp Nou, Liverpool produced arguably the best performance Anfield has ever seen as braces from Divock Origi and Georginio Wiljnaldum saw the Reds achieve the impossible to progress to the final.
Of course, a defeat as heartbreaking as the collapse Barcelona had to endure for a second-consecutive year is undoubtedly likely to leave scars. The La Liga champions are currently in a period of transition with the club second in La Liga – three points off bitter rivals Madrid.
The Catalan giants were recently knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao last week before a number of off-field incidents dominated the sporting headlines.
A stand-off between Ballon d’Or winner and club-captain Lionel Messi and sporting director Eric Abidal has caused a rift at the club with the Argentine’s future recently up for speculation.
Rakitic, 31, has made 294 appearances for Barca since moving from Sevilla six years ago, winning four La Liga titles and the Champions League in 2015.
Speaking during a Q&A with Bleacher Report, Rakitic was forced to open up about the emotional wounds that came following the defeat at the hands of Klopp’s Liverpool.
He said: “It’s really hard, it was a heartbreaking moment, we have to have a lot of respect to Liverpool but yeah it’s also what football is all about and you have to fight to the last minute, that’s what football is about”.
What RTK has to say
Liverpool are back at the pinnacle of European football after a hiatus of a few years.
To be able to send shivers down the spines of Barcelona like this is a real statement from Klopp’s ‘mentality monsters’.
Whilst the prestige and history that Liverpool have with this competition has never been in question, the fear factor is back amongst the rest of the continent the Reds are once again very much the dominant team in world football.