Sergio Busquets: The Unheralded Genius Behind Barcelona’s Success
You don’t see Busquets scoring goals, dribbling, or being the player with the most assists in the league. And yet, he is one of the most valuable players in Barcelona.
“You watch the game, you don’t see Busquets. You watch Busquets, you see the whole game.” — Vicente del Bosque
There’s a reason why he is a vital player for both Barcelona and Spain. He’s considered to be the brain behind Barcelona’s style of play. He’s not physically strong, but he is considered one of the best defensive midfielders of today.
Back in the old days, a player like Busquets could never achieve the success he achieved today. It was all about defending and bullying the opposite players.
But Guardiola changed everything. With the help of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets; of course.
“He thinks more about the team than himself.” — Pep Guardiola
Busquets style of play can’t be noticed easily by just watching the game. You always see Messi or Neymar dribbling, and Suarez scoring.
But Busquets is the guy responsible for the freedom that the Barcelona trio has available. Let’s take Jose Mourinho and his strategy for example.
He sold Kevin De Bruyne, because he wasn’t satisfied with his defending skills. De Bruyne lacked the discipline of marking players, and working on his defense assignments.
But that doesn’t mean De Bruyne is not a good player. He’s actually a world class player. And he was the “man of the match” against his former boss in the Man City – Man Utd derby.
Guardiola gave him the freedom to play on his favorite position, and he wasn’t asked to go back and defend as well.
Fernandihno and Fernando were there to do the dirty work for him. Busquets has the same job in Barcelona, but he’s also the best in the world in this position.
Besides recovering the ball, Busquets is responsible for possession and moving the ball forward while taking the least riskiest moves.
His number one quality is awareness. He’s always in the right position and at the right time. It’s not like Barcelona is using him because he is a product of La Masia.
He impressed Guardiola, who decided to bench Yaya Toure for a youngster with no special skills. Just to be clear, Yaya Toure was in his top form when he left Barcelona. He was the best player in City for the few years following.
Barcelona is all about possession. Yes, they’re capable of counter attacks as well, but the core of their style is possession.
Busquets alongside Iniesta is the man responsible for keeping possession, and recovering balls. If he wasn’t so good at his role, the MSN trio wouldn’t be as lethal as they currently are.
“Positionally, he seems like a veteran with or without the ball. With the ball he makes what is difficult look easy: he disposes of the ball with one or two touches. Without the ball, he gives us a lesson: that of being in the right place to intercept and running just to recover the ball.” — Johan Cruyff