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The Hard Reality Of Playing With MSN, Explained By Barca’s Starting Midfielder

When I imagine what it must be like to play with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar, images of sandy beaches and brightly colored drinks with their very own umbrellas float into my head, but, you know, in a footballing sense. 

I think that their talents would make my job infinitely easier, allowing me to merely spray passes forward, because they are more likely than not to land at the feet of a world-class player, and have success. And, looking at Ivan Rakitic play, it is tempting to believe that this is the case. 

The man passes like a metronome ticks, with all of the frequent accuracy that that metaphor implies. The thing is, he only had 10 assists and 8 goals last season, meaning he locked down a starting spot in midfield despite contributing to only 18 of Barcelona’s 173 goals in his first year at the club. Surely he must have done more than share the ball, retain possession, and contribute a pedestrian sum to a god-like offensive output, and make no mistake, he definitely did.  

“A lot of people say that it's easy to play with [Messi, Suarez, and Neymar] and that's rubbish,” Rakitic told Marca. “They are on another level and we play for them because they have earned it, but that doesn't mean it's easy. You have to get used to doing work on their behalf, and if I have to run 5,000 kilometres so that one of them can have his moment, that's fine by me.”

As Rakitic says, MSN have earned the right to only attack, and in the same way Rakitic has had to earn his right to play with them and share their glory. It is up to Rakitic and the rest of the midfield to find other ways to contribute, which more often than not results in a lot of running, defensive support, and covering while the big three save their energy for doing what they do better than anyone else in the world: attack. 

Hard work, for sure, but winning a treble surely takes the ache out of the effort. 

H/T Bleacher Report

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