Luis Enrique insists his omission of Ivan Rakitic from the Barcelona squad for Sunday’s LaLiga draw with Villarreal had nothing to do with speculation over his future.
A 90th-minute Lionel Messi free-kick snatched a point for Barca in a 1-1 draw at the renamed Estadio de la Ceramica.
Rakitic was left out against the backdrop of reports in Croatia linking him with a move to Manchester City to join up with former Barca head coach Pep Guardiola.
But Luis Enrique says the two things are unrelated.
“Rakitic’s absence has no relation with that story,” he told a news conference.
“Anyway, it doesn’t matter if the media is English, Croatian… you can’t trust the media.”
Vice-president Jordi Mestre, meanwhile, expressed his desire to see Rakitic remain at Camp Nou.
“We are negotiating Rakitic’s renewal,” he told Movistar+.
“We love him not only as a player but also as a person. He has a contract and we want him to stay.”
Rakitic’s existing contract expires in 2019.
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