• Fans have criticized Ivan Rakitic in his decline in performance
  • Rakitic stepped up big in Barcelona's victory against Athletic Club
  • Barcelona has been on a back and forth affair against Real Madrid in the La Liga standings

The roster of Barcelona is considered deep with a mix of veterans and high-performing players. This was evident in their recent match as Ivan Rakitic was the lone scorer in their victory over Athletic Club.

While stars like Lionel Messi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen remain consistent for the squad, there will be days that other players will step up for the club.

With the La Liga resuming their games, expectations are high for Barcelona to deliver and make sure that they perform well in every given opportunity. The weight to dominate the pitch is usually carried by Messi given how he’s excelled at the game for years. But during the rare times where defenses have the star covered, players such as Rakitic are expected to step up.

Per, it was a magnificent display by Rakitic in the recent match as he came up big with the goal at the 71st minute. While fans have noticed a decline in Rakitic’s recent performance, this proves that he’s still able to step up during big moments on the field. The former footballer of the year has suited up for a total of 303 appearances for Barcelona and has scored on 35 separate occasions and has tallied 41 assists.

The recent victory comes at a crucial time given how the La Liga standings have been tightly contested. It has been a back and forth affair between Barcelona and Real Madrid. With the recent 0-0 final score Barca had with against Sevilla, this gave Los Blancos the chance to take advantage and take the top spot.

But given Rakitic’s heroics in this match, Barcelona was able to immediately retrieve the first seed in the league. This puts Barcelona at 68 points, with 21 wins, five draws and five losses. The Camp Nou squad is now at 68 points, three points ahead of Real Madrid.

It will be interesting to see how Barcelona moves forward in the coming few games given how close the race has been at La Liga. With Messi still on top of his game and veterans stepping up when needed, every remaining game will be crucial for the club.

Ivan Rakitic
Ivan Rakitic (C) and Mario Mandzukic (R) will be rested for Croatia's game against Iceland. In this picture, Rakitic of Croatia celebrates with teammats Mateo Kovacic and Mario Mandzukic of Croatia after scoring his team's third goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Croatia at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images