Rakitic to miss Croatia friendly with a calf strain

With Iniesta and Busquets joining the Croatia midfielder on the Barça injury list, Luis Enrique will have his first-choice midfield in Barcelona.

Rakitic to miss Croatia friendly with a calf strain

Ivan Rakitic was granted permission by Croatia coach Ante Cacik to pull out of Croatia's upcoming friendly against Israel on Wednesday after the Barça midfielder was suffering from a calf strain. Rakitic will stay in the Catalan city to work on his recovery in the Ciutat Esportiva training complex.

As a result, with Busquets expected to return to Barcelona after leaving the Spain squad with a broken finger, Luis Enrique will see his first-choice midfielders rest in their quest to recover in time for the club's crunch matches as the business end of the season approaches. After Busquets' withdrawal, Los Culés will see 16 of their players travel to represent their respective nations.