Barcelona’s game has been built around the midfielder since Johan Cruyff arrived as coach at Barcelona in 1988 and opted for a small footballer for a giant position whose name was Luis Milla. The numbers still made sense in those years in which the demarcation was assigned to 4. The symbology has changed a lot over time and the functions of a figure that came to be known as a central midfielder or even a pivot have also varied until it was personified in a midfielder who wears the number 5 today. The synthesis of the quintessential midfielder is called Sergio Busquets.
The situation is so extreme that it is doubtful whether the captain has a substitute or a continuity solution at the Camp Nou. There had never been so much talk about the double pivot at Barça since he whispered about the departure of Busquets. All the candidates to fill his position have failed and La Masia is no longer that factory that was incapable of absorbing as many midfielders as it produced, talents like Arteta, Cesc, Oriol Romeu or Marc Crosas. The feeling is that right now two footballers are needed to assume the role of Busquets. The model, or the reference, would be outside of Barcelona. We are talking, for example, about Rodri or Zubimendi.
The drama of Busquets is that he has been an anti-hero at a time when anonymity penalizes and the players give them important attacks in an attempt to make news and to be able to appear in the votes in which the best in Europe are chosen. There has never been a place for the Catalan because the victory has been associated with Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, and even Víctor Valdés, while Busquets was singled out in defeat, simply because as captain he came out to analyze inexplicable defeats like Anfield or Rome. No player has had the sense of team and club that Busquets has.
It has been lucky for his teammates, whom he has always made better footballers, and especially for their coaches, since he was pointed out by Cruyff in the article published in The newspaper the day of his debut against Racing: “Technically, superior to Touré and Keita. Positionally, veteran appearance. With and without the ball. With the ball he made the difficult easy: giving out one/two touches. Without the ball, another lesson: to be in the right place to intercept and recover by running just enough. And that being young and inexperienced. The same sins as his technician ”. That September 15, 2008, Barcelona drew at home with Racing.
A year later, Barça ended up being recognized as the best team in the world after winning six titles with Guardiola on the bench at the Camp Nou. The man who is now Manchester City’s coach knew how to see in Busquets the essential player to balance the team’s game, surely because of his mix of street and academy footballer, raised in Badía del Vallés and a applied student after the La Masia model. Busquets defended the shirt with the same determination as the ball because he knew that success depended on unity, on his ability to compact the group, on being Barça’s metronome.
Perhaps because he knew he wasn’t fast, he always knew how to anticipate the play, also when it was time to say goodbye to Barcelona. Busquets will leave like a champion, just like Xavi and Iniesta did before, without waiting for Messi to make a statement. Maybe they will meet again in Saudi Arabia. The Barça captain also needs to distance himself for a while after the wear and tear caused by 15 seasons at Barcelona.
No one from the locker room has ever discussed his ownership, even though some whistle has been heard in some sector of the stands for understanding that football goes much faster than Busquets. He learned that speed is set by the ball and not by the legs, a very hackneyed issue lately in Barcelona. It is therefore not surprising that Busquets is ultimately the executioner of Busquets himself. Barcelona has had midfielders of different caliber since Milla, some striking -Guardiola-, also defensive -Edmilson-, and even half-half -would be the case of Márquez- or reconverted -would be Xavi or Iniesta-. All those who have passed through the Camp Nou have finally been metabolized by Sergi Busquets.
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