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Rakitic explains why he snubbed Chelsea

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Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic (R) celebrates with his teammate Neymar (C) after scoring the 1-0 lead during the UEFA Champions League final between Juventus FC and FC Barcelona at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, Germany on Saturday.

Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic (R) celebrates with his teammate Neymar (C) after scoring the 1-0 lead during the UEFA Champions League final between Juventus FC and FC Barcelona at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, Germany on Saturday.

BARECELONA, September 3- Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has explained the thinking behind his decision to snub a move to Chelsea as a teenager.

Rakitic came to the attention of the Blues’ scouting department while on the books of FC Basel and was offered the chance to make the switch to London prior to breaking into the Swiss outfit’s starting line-up.

However, after seeing a former Basel player Jonas Elmer fail to make the grade at Chelsea following a move from Basel, Rakitic was wary of suffering the same fate.

“I wanted to stay at home,” Rakitic told FourFourTwo. “I had a really special relationship with the president of Basel.

“It was much better for me to do pre-season with the first team there and then work my way gradually to the top.

“There was another guy in my situation, Jonas Elmer, who moved from Zurich to Chelsea at the age of 17. He ended up playing in the second division in Switzerland.

“Maybe that could have been me. I don’t want to say it’s always better to stay where you are in that situation, but my decision was to stay at home with my family and it worked well for me.”

While Rakitic feels his decision was vindicated, he did admit that the prospect of playing in England one day was something that he would be open to.

When asked whether he would consider a move to England, he added: “Of course, I like it very much.

“A lot of my friends are playing in the Premier League; it’s a different style of football and I always enjoy playing in Europe against English teams. Maybe one day I can play there, too.

“I like how every game is always intense and how everybody lives for football.

“You can have a game like Crystal Palace vs Stoke where both teams are strong, powerful, fully committed and the crowd are fully behind their team.”

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