The end of an era in FC Barcelona, as Sergio Busquets officially announced his departure at the end of the season. Busi will leave the club after 15 wonderful season and as the club’s captain. The legendary midfielder will move to Saudi Arabia, where he’s expected to spend the last years of his legendary career.
Personally, as someone who followed La Masia for years, it took time for me to acknowledge just how special Sergio Busquets was. Unlike Messi, Iniesta, Cesc and others, Busi wasn’t the player that you immediately witness when you watch the match. But just like Vicente del Bosque once said: When you watch the game, you don’t see Busquets. But when you watch Sergio Busquets, you see the whole game.
Life in Blaugrana
As the son of former goalkeeper Carlos Busquets, Sergio had a connection to the club since he was born. But unlike his father, who was 2nd choice goalkeeper most of his career and never really proved himself, Busi was a whole different story.
When Sergio Busquets received the call from Pep Guardiola, the ‘Pivot’ position was already well covered by Yaya Toure. Yaya combined very well with Iniesta and Xavi, and the 3 of them formed a great midfield for the ‘Pep Team’. But then Sergio Busquets came, took his chance with both hands, and completely conquered this position. He quickly became a pillar piece in the best team that we ever saw playing football.
In the last years, Sergio Busquets, who was never a pacey player, found it hard to keep up the pace against teams with fast transition. However, it’s virtually impossible to mention a player that was more press resistant, with better understanding of how possession football should look, and with the ability to take it to whole other level.
Finding a replacement?
Sergio Busquets took the “Xaviniesta path”, leaving with his head up and with a title. Barça will now have to find a way to fill the whole that Busi will leave after him.
It’s always hard to replace a legend. Barcelona never really replaced Dani Alves. And we now maybe starting to see players that can be considered as replacements for Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta. But replacing Sergio Busquets it probably impossible.
In the 90’s, there were Pep Guardiola, Franck Rijkaard, Redondo, Davids and others who could play as single pivots. Afterwards came players like Cocu, Davids, Xabi Alonso and Yaya Toure that also did the job well.
But now, there are almost no players that can play as ‘single pivots’ around in a Barcelona system. And those that are there are very expensive. I guess it’s part of the reason for the “box midfield” that Xavi uses. I think we should expect to see a lot more from this system, unless we find a way to get someone who can play as single pivot, like Zubimendi for example.
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