Ivan Rakitic hopes that “one of the world’s best strikers” Sergio Aguero has an off day when Barcelona take on Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Aguero was surprisingly left on the bench when the two sides met earlier this month when Barca won 4-0 at Camp Nou, with Pep Guardiola explaining he wanted to have more bodies in midfield.
However, the Catalan coach has already confirmed Aguero will start against the La Liga champions this week.
The Argentine forward scored twice against West Brom in the Premier League at the weekend, leaving Rakitic hoping that they will be the last goals he scores until at least Saturday.
“We know that Sergio is one of best strikers in world and when he starts to score it’s bad for other teams,” the Croatian midfielder said in a news conference on Monday.
“We hope the goals he scored in [the] last game will be the last for a few days.
“But Manchester City have a big team so it will be hard for us to play against other strikers.
“Hopefully Sergio had a good day at the weekend and tomorrow he can be easy [to manage] and then great for the game again next week.”
Barca boss Luis Enrique is also wary of the threat posed by Aguero, who has scored 13 goals this season, but is more concerned with shutting down City collectively.
“We’re talking about a strong team, not an individual,” he said when asked about Aguero.
“[Aguero starting] doesn’t change our attitude to the game. We don’t need to talk about him, we know how well he plays.
“Others know him better than me, but we know how good he is, how many goals he scores, but how we go into the game in a general sense doesn’t change.”
Rakitic also spoke about City coach Guardiola, whom he confessed he would like to play under, and who was the inspiration behind him choosing his shirt number in Catalonia.
“I took No. 4 shirt because of Pep,” he revealed. “It was a great opportunity and I took it with both hands. He was one of the best in the world.
“My teammates have told me a lot about him, what he was like. I hope he’s happy and successful in the future, but not tomorrow.
“It would be fantastic to work with him one day and if not I’ll invite him for a coffee.”
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