Luis Enrique has confirmed in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio that when he first joined as Barcelona coach, he was forced to choose between signing Ivan Rakitić from Sevilla or Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich. The Asturian ended up choosing Rakitić while Kroos went to Real Madrid.
The coach said that in truth, however, he wanted both Rakitić and Kroos to join Barcelona, but his request was denied:
“[Kroos] fit in as well, I remember this was our doubt. I would have signed both. But there wasn't enough money. Don't laugh. Andoni [Zubizarreta] also liked Kroos a lot. I did as well. I said, 'if I can only choose one, then I sign Ivan.' I wish I had signed both. But remember, when Ivan came in, it was a time in which Xavi was going to leave, but in the end Xavi didn't leave. And Xavi, we know what Xavi means for everyone.
“Kroos is more like a pivot, Ivan can be a pivot or an interior. Kroos has good touch, good shooting. He would be a good interior as well, eh? Maybe he doesn't have the profile to receive in ball in between the lines and turn. Maybe he doesn't have ability to beat players one-on-one, but well, Ivan doesn't have that either. They're players that are alike, that are similar, but with a few exceptions.”
Luis Enrique said one match in particular stood out to him when making the decision.
“I was very clear first of all because I knew Rakitić better, let's not fool ourselves. I had seen him. What's more, I have an anecdote that's very good. When I was at Celta,