Midfielder Ivan Rakitic is a key player for Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. Despite his future being in the air because the club don't plan to offer him a new contract, he remains a regular in the XI and can boast that he's played more games than any of his teammates this season.
Rakitic has made 34 appearances in all competitions this season and heads the list of players most used by Valverde, ahead of Sergio Busquets and Philippe Coutino (both 33). In terms of minutes, though, the Croatian is in second place with a total of 2,720. Gerard Pique's the only player ahead of him (2,880 minutes).
The midfielder is a given for Valverde, which is why if the coach decides to stay for another season, he will defend the need to keep Rakitic happy. Last season he helped persuade the player to reject an offer from Paris Saint-Germain.
Valverde will do everything possible to avoid losing Rakitic. Europe's top clubs are interested. Chelsea, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Inter Milan are all following his situation at Barça.
Rakitic has played 22 games in La Liga, six more in the Champions League, five in the Copa del Rey and one in the Spanish Super Cup. He has scored four goals, the same as he finished with last season.
Supporters voting in a SPORT poll backed Rakitic for a renewal, although only just.