Because of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and all the other global superstars Barcelona have had in their ranks over the past 13 years, Sergio Busquets hasn’t always received the credit his talent so richly deserves.
The Spanish midfielder, 32, has been one of Barça’s most important players over the past decade-and-a-half.
He’s won virtually everything at both club and international level during that time, including the World Cup, the European Championship, eight La Liga titles, six Copas del Rey and three Champions Leagues.
At the time of writing, Busquets has made 608 senior appearances with the Catalan giants.
Only Xavi, Messi and Iniesta have made more appearances for Barcelona in the club’s history.
It’s Busquets’ intelligence which helps set him apart from the vast majority of midfielders.
Always two steps ahead of his opponents in his head, Busquets’ decision-making is so often spot on.
Consistently making the correct decisions is what separates great players from good ones, and Busquets chooses the right options on the pitch time and time again.
Furthermore, Busquets possesses the quick feet and the calmness under pressure to make him virtually press-resistant.
The Champions League’s official Twitter account posted an incredible video this week titled: “Impossible to press? Pure class from Sergio Busquets…”
It shows the midfielder calmly evading all sorts of situations against the world’s best players and teams with either a couple of clever little touches or a body-swerve.
Watch it here…
Outstanding. What a footballer.
While Busquets has gone under the radar at times during his illustrious career, his teammates and peers have always appreciated his genius.
Xavi once told The Guardian: “Look at Busquets – the best midfielder there is playing one-touch. He doesn't need more. He controls, looks and passes in one touch. Some need two or three and, given how fast the game is, that's too slow.”
In an interview with Sky Sports in 2015, Xavi added: “I think he's the player with the best understanding of football, both in attack and in defence, in the world. His game intelligence on the pitch is a wonder.”
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola said in 2012: "If I was reincarnated as a player, I'd like to be like him.”
But what’s it like to actually play against Busquets?
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, speaking in 2018, said it was “an absolute nightmare”.
“Having played against him, in the end you stop pressing him because it’s just so frustrating,” Gerrard said. “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.”