Soccer-Barca buy Croatia World Cup midfielder Rakitic


* Rakitic arrives at Barca to replace Fabregas

* Midfielder to sign five-year contract (Adds details)

BARCELONA, June 16 (Reuters) - Barcelona have agreed to buy Croatia World Cup midfielder Ivan Rakitic from La Liga rivals Sevilla, the two clubs said on Monday, in a deal local media reported was worth around 20 million euros ($27.2 million).

"Barcelona and Sevilla have reached agreement for the transfer of Ivan Rakitic," Barca said in a statement on their website (, adding that the 26-year-old would sign a five-year contract.

Rakitic arrives at Barca after the club announced last week Cesc Fabregas was leaving to join English Premier League side Chelsea and he is seen as a natural replacement for the Spain playmaker.

Rakitic, who was born in Switzerland, is a "multi-faceted midfielder who combines two great virtues: physical strength and technical quality," Barca said.

After coming through the youth ranks at Basel, Rakitic joined Bundesliga side Schalke 04, where he spent four seasons before moving to Sevilla in 2011.

As club captain and the team's dominant personality, he helped the Andalusian club win last season's Europa League and is representing Croatia at the World Cup finals in Brazil, where he put on a fine performance in the opening match of the tournament against the hosts in Sao Paulo.

As part of the Rakitic deal, Barca and Sevilla agreed that Barca B team player Denis Suarez would be loaned to Sevilla for the next two seasons. ($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Mark Meadows)

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