Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has returned to something like his best under Xavi Hernandez. Although he cuts a low profile at times on and off pitch, he remains one of the more interesting players in Spanish football.
On Wednesday night he gave an interview to Catalan radio station RAC1, with Mundo Deportivo reporting the quotes. Busquets had been talking about his future and the topic of his future replacement came up.
“In the Barca style it’s a bit of a complicated position, a bit difficult. Lately there aren’t players of the same profile. The majority of teams play with a double pivot, or with box-to-box ‘interiors’, that want to go forward and back.”
“Here it’s a position in which you can’t move much, you have to think a lot and have everything in your head. Referentially you have to be in one place.”
Asked if there were any readymade replacements in the squad, Busquets wasn’t dismissive but neither was he certain.
“Perhaps maybe more Nico than Frenkie, even if Frenkie has played more minutes in that position because of his experience, but they aren’t players that are very similar to me. Each has their own characteristics but I’m sure that Xavi will make sure that whoever has to play there understands it.”
Some critics have claimed that Busquets is too slow for the modern game and cannot cover the necessary ground to survive in the modern game.
“I am not, I have never been and will never be a quick player, let me start with that. Starting from that, if the team doesn’t do things well and lots of bad things happen, because [the pitch] is very big and there are spaces, I will suffer and so will Usain Bolt and [Ngolo] Kante. Physically I am good, I am always available, I never get injured.”
Busquets was keen to establish a few truths in his mind and addressed some of the criticism over recent seasons aimed at him and others who have been at Barcelona for some time.
“These things are part of football and we understand it. We were under the microscope, we’re the ones who have been here longest, we are the ones who have lost those knockouts in the Champions League.”
“Not just us, there were more players, but it was focused on three or four players. Geri [Pique] is a bit different, but Jordi [Alba], Sergi [Roberto] and I don’t have many friends on the outside. We don’t give many interviews and sometimes when a player has been somewhere for a long time, it gets a bit tired. Unfair or not, we accept it and understand it.”