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To make it clear: she did actually know Croatia's former midfield playmaker/hopeless romantic and he wasn't just harassing a stranger. Probably.
But Rakitic really did have to put the work in to get his first date with Raquel Mauri, explaining that his lack of Spanish language skills really hindered him after he moved from Schalke to Sevilla in 2011.
"I don't know how to explain it... Whenever I saw her, it was like a bomb went off inside me," Rakitic told The Players' Tribune.
"Week after week, I slowly started to learn some Spanish words, and if I was struggling, I would use my hands a lot to try to explain what I was trying to say to her.
"She thought that was funny. She was like, "Me... Jane. You... Tarzan."
"I was drinking so much coffee it was ridiculous. I probably asked her out 20 or 30 times."
The reason for the insane caffeine intake is that the future life partner of Rakitic was working in a hotel bar. So he had to keep ordering coffees to make his (limited) small talk with her.
"She never said no," Rakitic qualifies. But clearly she didn't say yes either - and proving himself to his would-be love interest actually became a big factor why Rakitic succeeded in Spain.
"One day, Raquel finally explained why she wouldn't go out with me. She said, 'You're a footballer. You could be moving to another country next year. Sorry, but no.'
"You know, I'm not the biggest guy in the world, so I thought: 'S**t, maybe she sees me and she doesn't think I'm going to be very good and Seville will sell me in the summer.'
"Part of my motivation when I went to training was to establish myself in the squad so that I would be around for a while and this girl would finally have dinner with me. It literally took me seven months."
Eventually Raquel Mauri agreed to go for lunch with Rakitic and the rest is history: they are now married with two children.
Rakitic also found success on the pitch, as well as in love. The now 34-year-old joined Barcelona in 2014 and won a host of trophies - including the Champions League and four La Liga titles - before he re-signed with Sevilla in 2020.
The midfielder also played in a World Cup final with Croatia in 2018. Raquel Mauri, meanwhile, has nearly 700,000 followers on Instagram and has been with Rakitic for over a decade.
Here's thanking his persistence - and incredible ability to keep drinking coffee - for their eventual happiness.
Words by Alex Reid.
Featured Image Credit: Ivan Rakitic and Raquel Mauri on Instagram
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