Croatia could take on Turkey in their FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying opener on Monday 5 September in Zagreb without Ivan Rakitić …
When the squad gathered in Zagreb on the weekend there was one familiar face missing. Barcelona star Ivan Rakitić failed to join up with the squad and was still absent as the side played Segesta in a friendly on Wednesday in Sisak.
Rakitić’s absence has left the media wondering all week as to his whereabouts. Coach Ante Čačić has been cagey answering questions, but on Thursday the Barca midfielder sent a message via the Croatian Football Federation.
Rakitić revealed that his youngest daughter has had health problems and that has kept him from travelling to Zagreb.
“My family always comes first and that is why I asked the manager and teammates for understanding. The latest test show everything is OK and if the doctor confirm that today I will join up with the side in Croatia on time,” Rakitić said, before adding.
“I would not have been concentrated and focused on football, and this would not be of use to the national team. Thanks to the coach, teammates and all others for their support and understanding, I believe that we will see each other soon and prepare together for the Turkey match”, the vice captain said.
Croatia take on Turkey in their FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier at Maksimir stadium at 20:45 behind closed doors on Monday 5 September 2016.