Rakitic hopes Spain will rest 'magical' Iniesta versus Croatia


Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic has voiced his admiration for Andres Iniesta and hopes Spain will rest his Barcelona team-mate for their final Group D game on Tuesday.

Spain have already clinched qualification for the round of 16 following wins over Czech Republic and Turkey and are expected to make a number of changes to their starting XI for the upcoming clash with Croatia.

Iniesta is one of the candidates to be rested by Vicente del Bosque with an eye on the knockout stages and Rakitic would not mind if the 32-year-old were to miss out.

The attacking midfielder has been one of the stars of the tournament, scooping up man of the match awards against both Czech Republic and Turkey, and Rakitic has nothing but praise for the Spain ace.

"I don't think Andres is surprising anyone with his superb performances," said Rakitic.

"He has reached such a high level that we are only surprised if he is not at that high level.

"To speak about Andres is to talk about the magic of football, the enjoyment.

"I think he is enjoying himself enough now, but I hope he has a rest against us."

Croatia, who threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with the Czechs last time out, sit second in their group with four points from two games.