13 legends honour Sergio Busquets: ‘He could play in velvet slippers’
Sergio Busquets has announced that he’ll depart Barcelona at the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
There’s no question that he’ll depart the club as one of their all-time greatest players. He’s Barcelona’s third all-time appearance-maker and has won over 30 trophies, including eight La Liga titles (soon to be nine), seven Copa del Rey and three Champions Leagues – not to mention the World Cup and European Championships with Spain.
Most people recognise what Busquets brings to midfield, but he’s one of those rare players that is perhaps most appreciated by managers and players that have experienced football at the very highest level. Here are 13 football greats on just how good the midfielder has been:
“On the pitch always a five but in reality as a player and as a person you are a 10, Busi,” Messi wrote on Instagram.
“I wish you the best in your new stage and always, both you and your family. Thank you for on and off the pitch, there were so many moments we spent together, many good and some also complicated…They will stay forever! Big hug, @5sergiob.”
Interestingly, Messi kept schtum when Gerard Pique retired. Read into that what you will.
Lionel Messi's heartwarming message for Sergio Busquets 💜 pic.twitter.com/HI0o1jdvVm
— GOAL (@goal) May 10, 2023
Typically classy stuff from one of the classiest players in history.
“One of the best midfielders I’ve ever played against. It has been a pleasure.”
Uno de los mejores centrocampistas contra los que he jugado. Ha sido un placer. 🤝🤝 @5sergiob pic.twitter.com/0DgKB33t3c
— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10) May 10, 2023
“The first time Pep brought Busquets to train with us, everyone instantly realised we were facing a special player.”
Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard & Rio Ferdinand
The trio of former England internationals all raved about the Barcelona midfielder following their Champions League victory over Chelsea in 2018.
“He plays in second gear and I mean that in a positive way because everything’s so easy for him; one-touch, two-touch, when you try and coach young players in midfield now – what is the point of having five or six touches when you can have one or two and move the ball swiftly?” began Lampard.
“It’s his calmness as well, having played against him – in the end you stop pressing him, because it’s just so frustrating. You can’t get near him, you can’t get the ball off him,” added Gerrard.
“He could go out there in a pair of velvet slippers and perform. He’s that composed, he’s that calm,” said Ferdinand.
“He is a player who has made history, a legend,” Busquets’ manager and former team-mate said following his decision to retire from international football.
“One of the best midfielders in world football and the best defensive midfielder in the history of Spain. I congratulate him.”
We’re sure there’ll be much more gushing praise from Xavi as his key midfielder winds down his legendary Camp Nou career.
“Without Busquets, Barcelona and Spain could never have achieved what we have achieved,” Xavi is quoted as saying during his playing career.
“[Busquets] is a unique player, the most comprehensive out there and, for me, the best midfielder in the world. He’s essential for us, not only for his intelligence but because he can play in different positions,” the then-Barcelona boss told reporters back in 2016.
“When he plays as a pivot, the team win in an attacking sense and are solid defensively. He’s key and I try to give him a break whenever I can.”
Busquets remained one of the first names on Luis Enrique’s teamsheet at international level.
“I was a lucky guy,” Guardiola said in 2018.
“I would not say it was easy because in the position he started to play, he won that position in front of [Yaya] Toure. That’s why Toure came here to play here.
“At the end it was not complicated because we were together the year before in the fourth division in the second team.
“We knew what he could do and after that it belongs to him. What he has done in his career is because he is so clever, so good.
“He has to be so proud. Playing 500 games at Barcelona is not easy. Hopefully he can play many, many more years but he is not a teenager anymore.
“Sooner or later he will become a manager. We will see Busquets on the bench.”
Vicente del Bosque
"You watch the game, you don't see Busquets. You watch Busquets, you see the whole game." – Vicente del Bosque pic.twitter.com/MSLtucQXnP
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) December 27, 2018
Cesar Luis Menotti
“The first time I saw Busquets playing, I called a friend and said: ‘I saw a player from an extinct species’. An absolute talent.”
“After I left Liverpool, Pep gave me an offer because I fit in his system. But later he chose Busquets over me and he wasn’t proven wrong.”
“There are not many players that I can choose from in my position but if I had to pick one then it would be Busquets,” Casemiro reporters back in 2018.
“He is the best in the world and I have a lot of admiration for him, he has a lot of quality.”
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