And he single-handedly eliminated Real Madrid from the 2015-16 Spanish Cup, when Rafa Benitez - who lost his job soon after - fielded him in a cup game despite Cheryshev being ineligible, a decision which saw the Merengues thrown out of the competition. As he racked up the titles, including one Champions League after the other, England continued to resemble a stuck record.
In a World Cup where set-pieces have played such a huge role and with teams becoming ever more cautious as the final approaches, that edge could prove the difference between England ending 52 years of hurt or falling at the penultimate hurdle.
Rakitic was the hero against Russian Federation, converting the winning penalty just as he did in the round-of-16 shootout win over Denmark.
Subasic's four shootout saves are tied with Harald Schumacher of West Germany and Sergio Goygochea of Argentina for the most in a single World Cup.
"There are two very important phases".
If it boils down to a football contest in Moscow, Croatia's ability on the ball will be a huge test for England.
"In my personal opinion, I think this is the best he's playing for the Croatian national team".
Despite the pre-World Cup barbs and snipes regarding Russia's quality and the politically-charged commentary related to the hosts, they bowed out in style, having exceeded expectations and injected the tournament with a healthy dose of enthusiasm. It's football, 11 against 11, 11 warriors.
Rakitić explained his newfound gluten-free diet to El Pais: "I had a bit of luck, as in an analysis it turned out that I was celiac and I couldn't eat gluten, many times after games I felt pretty bad, bloated and I wasn't recovering so well".
But slack defending allowed Croatia to level eight minutes later.
"But we believe in our strengths", he said.
Jordan army begins delivering aid to Syrians stranded near border
Busra Al-Sham was captured by the rebels of the Free Syrian Army's Southern Front Brigades and Jabhat Al-Nusra in March of 2015. Rebels remain in control of parts of the provincial capital Deraa City, where the Syrian uprising began in 2011.
"I'm sure we will recover well", he said.
Here is a look at the semi-finals and what to watch out for.
Roberto Martinez celebrates Belgium;s quarter-final win over Brazil. England's Harry Kane leads all scorers with six goals in Russian Federation. It goes to extra time.
"They are really good at set-pieces and their tall players are risky at corners".
England trio Harry Kane, Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire are looking to guide their side to only their second World Cup final.
"Russia has shown the world what kind of championship we can have - the best in the world", said another fan.
"We have power left for England".
The worrying thought about what we will do with ourselves once it is over can wait, because two well-matched semi-finals await.
"We expect a very hard, tight and demanding match". Against Russia the introduction of Marcelo Brozovic in holding midfield gave him the chance to push further forward and it was from that position that he started to dominate.
Croatia have been pushed to the brink twice in penalties, and England may well be fresher due to getting their business done in the 90 minutes against Sweden. The belief is that, unlike Denmark, in particular, and Russia, Southgate's team will try to make the game; they will play on the front foot. But I spoke to the lads today and none of us fancied going home.