Former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has jokingly criticised Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic’s social media presence while hailing him as one of the world’s most underrated players.
Mourinho has been out of work since he was relieved of his duties at Old Trafford at the tail end of 2018.
Why does Mourinho rate Rakitic? Five things you need to know…
- Ivan Rakitic moved to Barcelona from Sevilla in 2014.
- He has made 253 appearances for the Catalonian giants, scoring 34 goals.
- Throughout his time at Barcelona, he has helped the club win three La Liga titles, a Champions League and four Copa del Rey trophies.
- Rakitic scored the winner in the club’s 1-0 victory away at arch-rivals Real Madrid on Sunday.
- Mourinho’s comments regarding Rakitic’s social media presence are seen as a veiled dig at the likes of Paul Pogba.
Speaking to beIN Sport, Mourinho couldn’t help but heap praise upon Rakitic who had scored the only goal of the game in Barcelona’s match against Real Madrid, boosting their La Liga title chances by opening up a 10-point gap with second-place Atletico Madrid.
Mourinho, who very publicly struggled with his player relations while at the helm in Manchester, also took a sly dig in mentioning Rakitic’s social media presence.
Mourinho said: “Before I leave, let me say something. I’ve wanted to say this for a long, long time: Ivan Rakitic is one of the most underrated players in the world.
“I just wanted to finish on that because normally we speak about the big names.”
Pogba, who Mourinho made captain at United before stripping him of the honour, is often criticised for his active social media presence.
Which is why some thought there was more to Mourinho’s next comment than it might appear: “For me, Rakitic needs to improve his Instagram and his social media because in this moment this is very important and he is not very good on that, he is good on the pitch.
“He’s a fantastic player at every level. He does defensive work on the right-hand side to compensate Messi, he runs miles.
“In ball possession, he’s fantastic, he’s simple, and he’s effective. He is one of the most underrated players.”
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Mourinho vs Pogba – continues…
The two men famously didn’t see eye to eye at Old Trafford throughout their time together.
Their relationship was often in the headlines – and not for good reasons – with Mourinho’s departure seemingly the resolution for the pair.
After news of Mourinho’s sacking broke, Pogba released a social media post not long after – most likely pre-scheduled – which seemed to coincide with his former manager’s exit.
The World Cup winner received backlash from members of the football community including former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville, who said at the time: “Jose Mourinho lost his job this morning, and Paul Pogba and his people put that Instagram post out.
“I don’t fall for this coincidence, scheduled Tweet nonsense, it’s garbage, absolute garbage.”
United’s next game takes place in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain. They trail 2-0 on aggregate ahead of the away leg and will be without Pogba due to suspension.