After speculation that Sergio Busquets may have been on his way to pastures new in the summer transfer window, the midfielder recently pledged his loyalty to Barcelona by penning an improved five-year deal with the club. Luis Enrique was wise to bend to the player’s higher wage demands and retain an irreplaceable cog in the champions’ machine.
When Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City he publicly stated that he would like to reunite with one of the key players in his devastating double Champions League winning side. Busquets was also keen to partner up again with the man that turned him into the world-class star he is today. However, the €200million release clause in the new deal means the 27-year-old is now likely to live out the rest of his playing days at the Nou Camp. Barcelona continue to be the team to beat in Spain, and as of late October, they are 5/6 in the Bet365 La Liga betting to retain the title this season. Busquets is an integral part of Barca’s unrelenting dominance.
Though the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar tend to steal the headlines at the Catalan club, it’s Busquets’ solidity, technical ability, and vision in midfield that allows the attacking trident to run riot on opposition defences. The Spaniard has become just as important to the new Barcelona model as Xavi was to the old one, and since the former captain’s departure, has grown into an essential figure of calm and composure in the middle of the park.
Busquets has played 316 matches for Barcelona in all competitions since 2009/10 and has averaged 74.3 passes per game (see video below) with a pass completion percentage of 91.8% in that time period. In Xavi’s last 261 matches for the club, the former captain had a pass completion rate of 93.1%. There is clearly a miniscule difference between the two players, and the significance of this is that many experts view Xavi as the best passer of the ball in the history of football. To add more perspective to just how impressive these stats are is to look at Andrea Pirlo’s pass completion percentage of 86.3% over his last 272 matches. The Italian was nicknamed “The Architect” by teammates, so what does that make Busquets at Barcelona?
Busquets has played his entire senior career at Barcelona, but is yet to reach full legendary status with the club. However, in the next few years he could easily garner the same kind of affection from fans as they had for Xavi. Playing at defensive midfield, footballers tend to have a much longer shelf life, and the six-time La Liga winner could yet be around even after his new contract expires.
In the knowledge that his position at the club is secure, Busquets can now push on to become one of the all-time greats. With four Copa Del Rey, five Spanish Supercup, and three Champions League medals already, there is no telling just how much more this exceptional player can achieve.