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Rakitic keen for 'cup' success with Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola should not be surprised if Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic asks him to put the kettle on after Tuesday's Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola's latest reunion with the club where he made an indelible mark as a player and a coach comes two weeks after Barcelona stormed to a 4-0 Group C victory over the Premier League leaders at Camp Nou.

Although many familiar faces remain from Guardiola's time in charge of the Spanish champions, Rakitic counts himself as an admirer from afar, having only signed for Barca in 2014.

The Croatia international's sublime midfield displays have made him a permanent fixture in Luis Enrique's best XI and, addressing a pre-match news conference at the City's training base adjacent to the Etihad, he spoke of the honour of donning the number four shirt Guardiola once made his own.

Rakitic, 28, did not rule out the prospect of playing under Guardiola in future but, for now, he has more modest ambitions.

"If not then maybe we can have a coffee together," he said.

"When I took the number four jersey over at Barcelona it was purely because of him.

"It was an opportunity that I took with both hands. He was one of the best in the world and my team-mates also tell me a lot about him and what he was like

"He's fantastic, I hope he is really successful in the future but not tomorrow.

"It would be great to work with him one day but if not I will let him come for a coffee."

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Barca will be without another midfielder of the highest calibre in Manchester as captain Andres Iniesta continues his recovery from a knee injury and Rakitic conceded his absence could be keenly felt.

"I'm sure Andres can enjoy the match at home watching it. We have some important players who will do their job perfectly and the manger will decide," he said.

"A lot changes [without Iniesta]. He's a unique player. I think he's been playing now for almost 14 years in the first team so all that he's given in that time is completely unique.

"There are other players that have different qualities, that's why we're going to try and be strong together. Whoever replaces him, we will have to be together and help that player.

"Quality like Andres is difficult to find but together as a team we can overcome this."

Arda Turan trained with Luis Enrique's squad at the Etihad Stadium after overcoming a foot injury and, although the absences of Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba could sting in defence, the Barcelona boss feels he is well stocked in midfield.

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"I think of all my players, I am very lucky to be able to choose from four to five players in that position," Luis Enrique said ahead of a game where his team will qualify for the knockout stages if they avoid defeat..

"Denis [Suarez] has played well, Rafa [Rafinha] has obviously played very well, Andre [Gomes] – any of those players. I am very fortunate to have such great options."

On Arda's fitness, he added: "Getting any player back is great news. I still don’t know if he will be 100 per cent tomorrow. We will have a look during the training session. I suppose he will be okay but we have to wait and see."

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