Ivan Rakitic has revealed he turned down Chelsea as a teenager.
The Croatian believes he made the correct decision in turning down the blues despite receiving a big offer.
The former Sevilla midfielder joined Barca last season, and has secured a first team spot after winning the treble in his first season at the club.
But now the midfielder has revealed that as a 16-year-old, before he joined Swiss side Basel, that he had the chance to move to Stamford Bridge.
“It was important for me to do it step by step,” Rakitic told the Daily Telegraph.
“First of all to arrive in the first-team in Switzerland because I had, at 16 years of age, a big offer to go to Chelsea. And another offer from Juventus and I decided to stay at home with my family.
“Then I first had to get into the league in Switzerland and after that the next step. At that time, when I was 15, 16, I decided it was more important to have my family.
“It might not have been the best decision for everyone but it was the right one for me.”
Rakitic spent two years in the Basel first-team before earning a move to Schalke, and the midfielder established himself as a key part of the Croatia national team after making his international bow in 2007.
A transfer to Sevilla followed, where Rakitic would become the club’s second non-Spanish captain after Diego Maradona. There he led the side, managed by Unai Emery, to victory in the 2014 Europa League final.
“Maybe when I decided to stay in Basel it might have been a bad decision but it was my decision,” Rakitic continued. “Or maybe I will go to Chelsea and my father would have said ‘no, stay at home’.
It was important for me to say ‘the money is there but the money will come with time also’. There was another player like me and he went, and today he is playing in the fourth division in Switzerland.
“Of course I knew that in my position there was maybe the two best players in the world [Xavi and Andres Iniesta] so it was not so easy to start. But if you have the possibility to play in the best team in the world, at this club, then you have to enjoy it.”