Former World Cup finalist, current Barcelona standout and perhaps future MLS star? Ivan Rakitic recently joined Extratime's AT&T 5G Call to the Field for a special exclusive interview to talk everything from his love of the United States and MLS to training with Lionel Messi every day as well as dishing out some advice to MLS players on how to go far in a tournament.
While he may have been busy winning four La Liga titles, a Champions League crown and plenty more besides with Barcelona, not to mention reaching a World Cup final with Croatia, in recent years, the midfielder has clearly been keeping a keen eye on MLS. And he likes what he's seen.
"You can really see soccer is winning every year more and more attention in the States," Rakitic told Andrew Wiebe, Charlie Davies and David Gass. "It's really special and I'm really happy to see this."
"I think it's really special to see the possibility of how soccer can keep going up," he added. "Then to have this feedback from the guys who were playing there you can see that it's going step by step forward and this is really important. Now you can see a game from MLS and say 'ah yes I want to see it.'
Rakitic explained that he and his Barcelona teammates regularly discuss the latest happenings in MLS, and he's also received plenty of positive feedback on the league from good friend and former Colorado Rapids man Shkelzen Gashi with whom he played in Switzerland youth teams.
"He was really happy, he enjoyed it a lot," Rakitic said of Gashi. "It's really special to hear from a friend and see him enjoying it every day."
Rakitic said he's visited the U.S. a number of times, falling in love with places like New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and, yes, Iowa. Sadly Iowa does not currently have an MLS team, but what about a future move to the newest team on the MLS block, Inter Miami?
"Let's see, maybe David Beckham will call me," Rakitic joked.
To hear plenty more from Rakitic on a range of topics, watch the full Extratime interview above.