Change in diet the secret of Croatian midfielder Rakitic's success

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"I was fortunate, I had an analysis and it turned out I am allergic to gluten, I have now changed a lot of things and I feel very comfortable and I felt a lot better all season."

SAMARA, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic says one of the reasons for his excellent form this season and in the 2018 World Cup is down to a major change in his diet after discovering he is allergic to gluten.

By Paul Giblin

"I completely changed the way I eat, now I only drink water at home, no Coca-Cola and I have started to work with people who have helped me a lot," continued the midfielder, who is feeling the benefits.

The 200-year-old is in Russia after helping Barcelona to a domestic double in one of his best seasons as a player and speaking in an interview with the Spanish 'El Pais' newspaper, he explained the reason for his season was partly down to a major change in lifestyle.

Rakitic has been one of the keys to his country's impressive World Cup to date and the FC Barcelona player will be in the side when they face hosts Russia in Sochi later on Saturday night.

"I used to feel uncomfortable and bloated after matches and I found it hard to recover," explained Rakitic.

"I have felt much better ever since I made the change. I recover much easier and quicker after games and my intestines don't give me any problems. To begin with I didn't think it was that important, but when I made changes I realized I had done the right thing," he concluded.