Ivan Rakitić is a technically gifted, two-footed attacking midfielder now plying his trade in Spain with Sevilla FC following a January 2011 move from FC Schalke 04. Swiss-born, he opted to play for the land of his parents at senior international level despite representing Switzerland at various youth age groups.
• Born to a Croatian family in Switzerland and schooled at Basel, he made his debut aged 17 in a UEFA Cup tie against Bosnian club NK Široki Brijeg.
• Enjoyed an outstanding 2006/07 season, scoring 11 top-flight goals for Basel, winning the Swiss Cup and being voted the best young player in the Swiss Super League.
• Joined Schalke in summer 2007, as a replacement for Brazilian playmaker Lincoln, for around €5m on a four-year contract and was handed the No10 shirt; scored on his Bundesliga debut against champions VfB Stuttgart (2-2) and also on target in a 1-1 draw with FC Bayern München a month later.
• Chose Croatia over Switzerland, for whom he played at Under-17 level, and made his international debut against Estonia on 8 September 2007, scoring his first goal four days later against Andorra; started three of four matches at UEFA EURO 2008 and was the only player to appear in all ten of Croatia's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, scoring three goals.
• Scored six goals in eight Bundesliga games in the spring of 2010 to help Schalke finish second and qualify directly for the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League.
• Took to the Spanish Liga with aplomb after joining Sevilla in January 2011, scoring against, among others, Club Atlético de Madrid, Valencia CF and Villarreal CF before the season was out; made 36 appearances the following campaign.
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