If you want to know how much Spanish football somebody really watches, ask them about Sergio Busquets.
If they say he’s rubbish, dives all the time and is a cheat, then it’s safe to assume they don’t watch any La Liga matches and only remember the Spain international for that unfortunate incident against Inter Milan (when he took a sneaky peek through his hands while rolling on the floor) from 2010.
But if they describe him as one of the world’s best midfielders and a crucial part of Barça’s success since 2008, then you know they know their stuff.
People were wondering if Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele is Europe’s most underrated midfielder following his performance against Juventus last week, but surely Busquets is more worthy - if that’s the right word? - of that title.
The 29-year-old is unquestionably one of the finest midfielders of the past decade - Barça wouldn’t have been the same team without him - but he doesn’t receive the widespread adulation that his talent deserves.
Guardiola: I'd like to be reincarnated as Busquets
"If I was reincarnated as a player, I'd like to be like him,” Pep Guardiola said back in 2012.
Praise doesn’t come much higher than that.
Busquets breaks record for the season v Chelsea
Busquets produced another excellent performance for Barça against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
In fact, he even broke a record for the season, per Marca, by completing 128 of his 139 passes. A remarkable statistic.
Gerrard sums up what it's like to face Busquets
He had 152 touches of the ball in total and was praised by ex-pros Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard inside the BT Sport studio after the full-time whistle.
During the discussion, Gerrard provided a very honest summary of what it’s like playing against Busquets - and it doesn’t sound remotely enjoyable.
“Having played against him, in the end you stop pressing him because it’s just so frustrating,” the Liverpool legend conceded. “You can’t get near him, you can’t get the ball off him, you can’t get close.
“If you come out of your position to press him, he pops it around you - and you can’t do it for 90 minutes because you’re just using useless energy up.
“He’s an absolute nightmare to play against.”
Watch BT Sport’s pundits talk about Busquets here…
“He didn’t break sweat,” Gerrard added. “It almost looks like he’s in second gear.”
That, however, is part of Busquets’ genius. Few players on the planet are capable of making the game look so simple.
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