- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic says he has joined Barcelona “to take a step forward” in his career after helping Sevilla win the Europa League last season.

Rakitic said after signing a five-year deal on Tuesday that “the title last year with Sevilla opened a door for me and I hope that this is only the first step.”

Rakitic agreed to join Barcelona last month on his return from the World Cup.

The 26-year-old Croat will help fill the playmaking void left by Cesc Fabregas after his transfer to Chelsea.

He says he has chosen the number 4 jersey to follow in the footsteps of former Barcelona player and coach Pep Guardiola.

Barcelona says Sevilla asked for the financial details of the transfer not to be released.



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