Juventus-linked Rakitic out of Croatia squad as Kovacic suffers injury

By Sports Desk September 02, 2019

Ivan Rakitic pulled out of the Croatia squad over uncertainty about his Barcelona future, Zlatko Dalic has confirmed.

Croatia's head coach revealed rumoured Juventus target Rakitic would not be able to focus on the national team until his club situation is resolved.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde has only used Rakitic, who was reportedly offered to Paris Saint-Germain in a proposed deal for Neymar, for 44 minutes over the course of the club's three LaLiga matches this season.

Serie A champions Juve are thought to be interested and the Italian giants have until 20:00 local time (19:00 BST) Monday to finalise a deal before the transfer window shuts.

"I talked to Rakitic, who has not yet resolved his status at the club and is not ready for the national team at the moment and would not be able to give his maximum," Dalic told a news conference.

"I do not have time now to deal with what will happen in the future. Hopefully it will work out for the best."

Rakitic is not the only Croatia midfielder unavailable for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Azerbaijan.

Vatreni medical staff assessed Mateo Kovacic following his arrival in camp and diagnosed the Chelsea player with an inflamed Achilles tendon in his right leg.

The 25-year-old played 83 minutes of Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw against Sheffield United.

Mijo Caktas replaces Kovacic in the squad, while Marko Rog is in for Rakitic.

Croatia, World Cup finalists in 2018, sit third in Group E with six points from three games.

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