The Midfield Maestro: Sergio Busquets and his 18-year Barcelona Reign

Spanish midfield mastermind Sergio Busquets has decided to part ways with Barcelona after an 18-year-long spell of dominance.

Sergio Busquets joined Barcelona back in the summer of 2005. He came through the ranks at the club and became a household name in no time. The 34-year-old became the mainstay of their team under Pep Guardiola and went from strength to strength throughout his time at the club.

However, Busquets’s reign at Barcelona is all set to come to an end. He has decided to part ways with the club when his contract runs out in the summer. The Barcelona captain wants to leave the club on a high. And with the Catalan giants all set to win La Liga, the defensive midfielder feels it is the right time to move on.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia might be his next destination. But as Busquets get closer to his final-ever appearance for Barcelona, The Hard Tackle looks back at the legendary stint of an unlikely success story of a scrawny Spaniard who became Barcelona’s midfield metronome.

The Rise of Busquets

Busquets blossomed under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola. (Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images)

Sergio Busquets started as a B team player under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona. Guardiola became a big fan of the defensive midfielder. And, the first thing the Spanish manager did after taking charge of Barcelona’s senior team was to promote Busquets to their first team.

The former Spain international was promoted to their first team back in the summer of 2008. Initially, he was used as a cover for Yaya Toure. But, despite getting limited game time, he managed to impress one and all.

His rise to stardom began in the 2009 Champions League final. An injury crisis forced Guardiola to start Toure as a centre-back. And, Sergio had to start as a holding midfielder. He showed calm and composure on the ball, helping Barcelona win their third Champions League.

Busquets displaced Touré in the following season and became an indisputable starter at Barcelona, impressing fans and critics alike with his solid performances. He continued to shine and was one of Barcelona’s best players during the 2010/11 season, helping the team win both the league and the Champions League.

He went from strength to strength winning every possible title with the Catalan giants over the years. The 34-year-old defensive midfielder also became an important part of the Spanish national team that dominated world football for years. Busquets won the World Cup (2010) and Euro (2012) with the Spain national team.

The Xavi-Iniesta-Busquets trio

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Barcelona dominated world football with homegrown players from the late 2000s to the early 2010s. Pep Guardiola trusted their youth products and gave them an extended run in the team. It resulted in a team full of superstars that could take down any opposition in world football.

However, the engine of their team was its midfield. While they had the magician Lionel Messi to leave the fans in awe, it was the midfield who made sure they had enough of the ball to allow their star forwards to dominate the opposition.

The 34-year-old’s skills allowed Xavi and Iniesta to be at their best. Busquets had exceptional positional awareness, the ability to read the game, and play it simple. He could anticipate the movements of the opposition and cut the passing lanes. His defensive skill sets allowed Xavi and Iniesta to wander further up the pitch and link up with Messi to do the damage.

Sergio Busquets’s presence in the Barcelona midfield allowed Xavi and Andres Iniesta to excel in their roles as creative playmakers. With Busquets providing a solid foundation in the centre of the park, Xavi and Iniesta were given the freedom to roam and create chances for their teammates.

Busquets’s intelligent positioning and excellent ball retention skills allowed him to quickly win possession and distribute the ball to the more attacking players in the team. This meant that Xavi and Iniesta could focus on what they did best – picking out passes, threading through balls, and creating goal-scoring opportunities.

The combination of these three players formed the core of Barcelona’s “tiki-taka” style of play and led the team to unprecedented success on both the domestic and international stages.

The 18-year reign at Barcelona

Sergio Busquets has been a vital player for Barcelona over the last 18 years, playing in 719 matches, scoring 18 goals, and providing 45 assists. While his numbers are not super impressive, he was certainly impressive when he took the field.

He ran the show and allowed others around him to shine. While the 34-year-old never really got the limelight, people who understand football surely knew how important the Spaniard was to the Catalan giants’ success.

The former Spain manager, Vincente Del Bosque once said, “You watch the game, you don’t see Busquets. You watch Busquets, you see the whole game.”

Busquets’s contribution has helped Barcelona win an impressive 31 major trophies, including three Champions League titles, eight La Liga titles, and seven Copa Del Rey trophies, among others. His success with the club made him a fan favourite and cemented his legacy as one of Barcelona’s greatest midfielders of all time.

Busquets: The man who redefined the role of a defensive midfielder

Sergio Busquets became synonymous with the defensive midfield role. (Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

In the world of football, the role of a defensive midfielder is often associated with physicality, toughness, and tackling ability. However, Sergio Busquets defied these stereotypes by becoming one of the greatest players in his position through his exceptional ball control, positioning, and passing abilities.

Busquets’s intelligence and tactical awareness made him an invaluable asset to Barcelona’s midfield. He would read the game with precision, often anticipating the opposition’s moves and cutting out passes before they could cause any damage.

Moreover, his composure and vision on the ball made him a key component of Barcelona’s possession-based style of play. His ability to recycle possession and dictate the tempo of the game allowed Barcelona to control matches, and his excellent range of passing made him a potent weapon in the team’s attacking arsenal.

Despite not being a physical beast, Busquets’s skills and ability to read the game allowed him to dominate the midfield and become one of the greatest players in his position.

The End of an Era

Sergio Busquets
Sergio Busquets will soon lead Barcelona for the final time. (Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Sergio Busquets’s departure from Barcelona marks the end of an era. The defensive midfielder’s exceptional contribution to the team’s success over the last 18 years cannot be overstated. His intelligent positioning, ball control, and passing abilities helped redefine the role of a defensive midfielder and created the foundation for Barcelona’s success during their peak years.

Busquets, along with Xavi and Andres Iniesta, formed the core of the team’s midfield and played a crucial role in their dominance. While Barcelona will miss his presence, Sergio Busquets’s legacy as one of the greatest midfielders in the club’s history is secure.

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