‘When he’s not there, you notice it’ – Xavi Hernandez lauds Barcelona lynchpin

Ahead of Barcelona’s Spanish Supercup tie with Real Betis, Xavi Hernandez was called in front of the press to speak with media. With speculation over the future of Sergio Busquets continuing to dominate the news, Xavi once again went out of his way to praise his captain to the hilt.

The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has been consistently linked with an exit. For his part, Xavi is intent on keeping him, but has previously admitted the decision lies with Busquets.

Retiring from Spain duty after the World Cup, Busquets has often been criticised heavily during major Barcelona defeats for not being able to stay the pace without the ball. In the last big match Barcelona played against Atletico Madrid, he started alongside Frenkie de Jong rather than as a single pivot, which he traditionally has been used as.

Xavi told the press that his pivot was an example.

“For me he is a transcendental footballer for the team, vital for the dressing room. An example of sacrifice, of leadership. He’s priceless. From a football point of view, he is the equilibrium of the team, he commands his teammates. When he is there and he is not there, you notice it.”

“There is a before and after in terms of the defensive pivot with and without Busi. We will always see him as an example, a mould. This one has similar things to Busi, this one doesn’t…Vital.”

Publicly at least, Xavi could hardly be doing more in order to keep Busquets invested.

Part of the reason for that may be that any pivot approaching his quality is likely to be not quite priceless, but at least expensive. In all likelihood, out of Barcelona’s budget. Thus Xavi may be keen to hang onto Busquets without promise of a solid alternative.

Tags Barcelona Sergio Busquets Spanish Supercup Xavi Hernandez
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