Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has praised Mauro Icardi and Inter ahead of their important Champions League clash to determine who will take the lead in Group B.
Both teams have emerged victorious against Tottenham Hotspur and PSV Eindhoven, meaning the match between the two sides will almost certainly have a huge impact on the final standings of the group. 25-year-old Icardi has netted in both of Inter's matches, whilst Barcelona will be without fellow Argentinian Lionel Messi, who suffered a fractured arm against Sevilla.
Speaking in an interview with Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport, Rakitic admitted that it will be a very tough match for Barcelona. He said: "Even from the outside we can see that they are doing well and that the environment is positive. They are a united and happy team.
"Certain rhythms become strong and difficult to beat. We expect a really complicated game, even if they will miss Nainggolan, an important absence. In any case Inter is ready, hungry for Champions and I know it because I talked with Rafinha.
"We will miss Messi. Playing without him is complicated because he is the best player in the world and maybe even in history, but I am confident, we have to show that even without him we can do well."
Rakitic then went on to praise Icardi, who has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea in recent weeks. He added: " The fact that it is his first experience in the Champions League seems a lie. He is one of the best strikers in the world and also seems a real captain.
"Scoring a goal from just 15 touches? Pippo Inzaghi is back! In his goal at Milan there is nothing casual. Icardi is one of those who can score even if they have only one chance, they do not need much to do damage. For this reason he must always be watched.
"Inter is a very safe team with their own style and know what they can do. At their best, their ideas will give us a battle ".