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SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISIÓN

2017/2018 Season

POS TEAM W D L PTS
1 Barcelona 16 3 0 51
2 Atletico 12 6 1 42
3 Valencia 12 4 3 40
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EspanyolEspanyol
BarcelonaBarcelona
8:00 PM UTC
Leg 1
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Barcelona's Messi, Suarez, Neymar are 'best friends in the world' - Ivan Rakitic

Barcelona's front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are the "best friends in the world," according to their teammate Ivan Rakitic, whose team have taken the opposite stance to Cristiano Ronaldo's position on camaraderie in football.

Earlier this week, Ronaldo said it didn't matter how well Real Madrid's players got along off the pitch.

But Rakitic said the close relationship between Barca's three-pronged attack has been invaluable.

"The surprising thing about Messi, Neymar and Suarez is they are not egotistical," Rakitic told Jutarnji, in his homeland of Crotia. "Despite having three different personalities, there is complete harmony.

"It may sound like an exaggeration, but they are the best friends in the world, the best friends in the history of football. And I don't need to say how important that is for us."

The close friendship of Barcelona's stars helps their performance on the pitch, according to Ivan Rakitic.

Barcelona's stars have also been subject to some criticism for showboating this week following Lionel Messi's "penalty pass" to Luis Suarez in a game in which they were already well ahead.

But Rakitic said there was nothing malicious in the "spontaneous" play.

"We've been accused of humiliating our rivals, but we see it in another way," Rakitic said. "Messi is a genius, a player you don't see every day.

"The move was spontaneous, in training we don't practice these type of things."

Rakitic has been sharing time with Arda Turan in the Barca midfield, but he said they are not in competition with each other.

"Arda and I are two totally different players. I've known him through the Spanish league for a few years now and he's a fair guy and a player with a lot of talent," he said.

"I don't complain about [how much I am playing], at the biggest clubs there are always rotations because you're fighting for three competitions and have to understand you can't play every game. I have to be ready because the most difficult part of the season is coming."

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