Ivan Rakitic hangs up international boots with Croatia, Newsline

ZAGREB — Ivan Rakitic has decided to end his international career, Croatia’s soccer federation said Monday.

The 32-year-old Rakitic played 106 times for his country in a storied midfield partnership with Luka Modric that lasted for more than a decade.

They were key to Croatia reaching the 2018 World Cup final where it lost 4-2 to France.

Rakitic scored the decisive penalty in shoot-outs to beat Denmark and host Russia in the first two knockout rounds.

“Saying goodbye to the Croatian national team is the most difficult decision in my career,” Rakitic said in

Born in Switzerland, Rakitic started his career at Basel and represented Swiss national youth teams before opting to switch to his parents’ home nation.

He leaves the Croatia squad just nine months before it plays at the postponed 2020 European Championship. Croatia is in a group with England, the Czech Republic and a play-off winner not yet decided.

Ivan Rakitic hangs up international boots with Croatia, Newsline
Mexico’s Giovani Dos Santos fights for the ball with Croatia’s Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic (Left) during their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Rakitic is in his first season back at Sevilla, where he won a Europa League title in 2014 before starting a six-year spell at Barcelona.

He scored the opening goal in Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Juventus in the 2015 Champions League final.

Associated Press (AP)