Ivan Rakitic has been at Barcelona since 2014
Eric Cantona had his seagulls, Mauricio Pochettino had his cows and now Ivan Rakitic has his ‘sack of potatoes’.
Football is full of weird and wonderful quotes and Rakitic’s metaphor sits up there with the best of them as he found a unique way to criticise Barcelona’s treatment of him.
The Croatia midfielder has been with the Catalan club since 2014, but lost his regular starting place this season with the arrival of Dutch wonderkid Frenkie de Jong.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, the 32-year-old revealed he refused to move to Paris St-Germain last year as part of a deal to bring Neymar back to the Nou Camp.
Asked about his future, he replied: “I understand the situation but I’m not a sack of potatoes who you can do anything with.
“I want to be somewhere I feel wanted and respected. If that’s here then I’ll be delighted but if it’s somewhere else then I’ll be the one who decides where, not anyone else.”
Barcelona currently sit two points clear at the top of La Liga, but Rakitic has played an intermittent role in this year’s campaign, starting only 10 of Barcelona’s last 27 La Liga matches.
“Last year was the best of the six I’ve had here and I was annoyed with how I was treated. I was very surprised and I didn’t understand it. The results have not been the best and I haven’t played much, that is why I felt hurt,” he said.
Rakitic’s contract at Barcelona runs out in 2021, but he seems determined to see that out.
“I had a very strange first half of the season, it was very uncomfortable and surprising for me. But I hope I can finish this last year of my contract,” he said.
Either way, Rakitic’s spud-based analogy is perhaps not even the strangest in the canon. Two cracking examples from recent history spring to mind.
In February, Jose Mourinho baffled a lot of us with this bizarre extended metaphor about staircases, in response to Son Heung-min getting injured.
‘The stairs broke’ – Mourinho’s strange reaction to Son’s injury
Or what about Pochettino and his mind-boggling analogy about cows, trains and the Champions League, from 2018?
Explained: Pochettino’s Champions League cow analogy
And that’s not to mention some classic examples from the archives – Rafa Benitez’s retort to criticism from Roy Hodgson in 2010 that “some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar,” for example.
Or, of course, the archetype – Eric Cantona’s “when the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown.”
With nothing happening on the pitch at the moment, let’s give thanks for the semantic skill of some players off it.
Watch Cantona’s famous ‘seagulls’ quote