Croatian star Ivan Rakitic has revealed that he turned down offers from Chelsea and Juventus to stay at Basel and continue his development.
“It was important for me to do it step by step,” he explains. “First of all to arrive in the first-team in Switzerland because I had, at 16 years of age, a big offer to go to Chelsea. And another offer from Juventus and I decided to stay at home with my family. Then I first had to get into the Super League in Switzerland and after that the next step.
“At that time, when I was 15, 16, I decided it was important to have my family. It might not have been the best decision for everyone but it was the right one for me.
“Maybe when I decided to stay in Basle it might have been a bad decision but it was my decision. Or maybe I will go to Chelsea and my father would have said ‘no, stay at home’. It was important for me to say ‘the money is there but the money will come with time, also’. There was another player like me and he went and today he is playing in the fourth division in Switzerland.” Rakitic says this is a “special story”.