Sevilla signs midfielder Rakitic from Barcelona

September 1

SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Spanish club Sevilla reached a deal for the return of midfielder Ivan Rakitic on Tuesday.

The club said Rakitic arrives from Barcelona on a contract until 2024.

The 32-year-old Croatian was one of the players that incoming Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said was not in his plans for the future.

Rakitic had played three years with Sevilla before joining Barcelona in 2014, where he had played in nearly 200 matches. He left for Barcelona shortly after helping Sevilla win the 2014 Europa League title.

Rakitic has 149 appearances with Sevilla, with 32 goals and 41 assists.

He also has more than 100 appearances with Croatia, helping the team reach the 2018 World Cup final.

Rakitic was a regular starter with Barcelona during most of his time with the Catalan club, but he hadn't been playing as often since coach Quique Setién took over in January. Having lost playing time to Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong, who joined the club last summer, he would have faced further competition from new signing Miralem Pjanic.

Barcelona began restructuring its squad after the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals.

In addition to Rakitic, new coach Koeman said he also didn't plan to use Luis Suárez, Arturo Vidal and Samuel Umtiti.

Sevilla won its sixth Europa League title this season. It finished fourth in the Spanish league, securing a Champions League spot for next season.

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