Mourinho praises 'fantastic' Rakitic, takes veiled dig at Pogba

Jose Mourinho was impressed with Ivan Rakitic in El Clasico, and he used the opportunity to seemingly aim a jibe at Paul Pogba.

Ivan Rakitic celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid CF at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.   -  Getty Images

Jose Mourinho lauded Ivan Rakitic as "one of the most under-rated players in the world" but, in an apparent dig at Paul Pogba, said the Barcelona midfielder needs to improve his social media presence to be held in higher regard.

Rakitic, not Lionel Messi, was the star of the show in Saturday's Clasico, scoring the only goal of the game in an impressive performance to secure a 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Mourinho was appearing as a pundit for the match on beIN SPORTS and was hugely impressed with the Croatia international, but his praise also appeared to be veiled swipe at Manchester United midfielder Pogba, who has been criticised for his use of social media.

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He and Mourinho clashed in training last September, reportedly due to the France star posting videos to Instagram during United's penalty shoot-out defeat to Derby County in the EFL Cup.

Pogba also posted an apparently scheduled photo of him smirking above the comment "Caption this!" shortly after Mourinho was sacked as manager in December, and the Portuguese seemingly took his opportunity to hit back.

"For me, Rakitic is one of the most under-rated players in the world. He is a fantastic player at every level," Mourinho said.

"He does defensive work on the right-hand side to compensate for Messi. He runs miles. In ball possession he is fantastic. He is simple, he is effective. He is one of the most under-rated players.

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"Normally we speak about the big names, but Rakitic, for me he needs to improve his Instagram and his social media, because in this moment this is very important and he's not very good on that, but he's very good on the pitch."

Former Madrid head coach Mourinho felt his old club was not defeated by a particularly impressive Barca, though he commended Ernesto Valverde's side for its functionality and solid foundation.

"This is not a criticism, it is a compliment. They did not play phenomenal, they are not playing phenomenal," Mourinho added.

"They are solid, probably they are more solid than in some other seasons. They know how to defend, they know how to be compact.

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"They are not as beautiful as people are used to, but they are winning matches. In the Champions League, when you get the big teams in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, probably that's a very good way to do it.

"They are solid. In this moment, in [Gerard] Pique and [Clement] Lenglet, they have a fantastic couple in front of [Marc-Andre] Ter Stegen who, season after season, only gets better."

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