What do Sergio Busquets, Kevin Jonas and Michelle Williams all have in common? They are all the third, underappreciated members of a famous trio.
While Destiny’s Child star Michelle has been overshadowed by the immense fame of Beyonce and Kelly Rowland and Kevin Jonas is clearly the least popular brother, Busquets was the integral cog that allowed Xavi and Andres Iniesta to take all the plaudits at Barcelona.
His Spanish teammates finished on the podium of the Ballon d’Or a combined four times, including in 2010 when the World Cup winners took second and third spot behind Lionel Messi. Busquets wasn’t even nominated. Nor was he when Barcelona won the Champions League in 2009 or 2011. By 2012, he had been nominated, but received a paltry 0.2% of the vote.
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Perhaps it is because he is a defensive midfielder, or he had a particular knack of winding up opponents - but he never truly got the credit he deserved. Now his Barcelona career is coming to an end, it is time to change that.
As a holding midfielder, nobody comes close to Sergio Busquets. He was the lynchpin of the greatest club side we have ever seen, as good technically as Xavi and Iniesta and arguably even more intelligent on the ball. That Barcelona side is famed for its control of possession and attacking dominance.
Messi was magical, but Busquets held everything together. He was the shield for Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol and those three, along with Eric Abidal, did all of the defending when the opposition had the ball. Busquets was the protector, but the most talented holding midfielder we have ever seen.
As Pep Guardiola implemented his tiki-taka, it was always Busquets given the ball under pressure. He was the master of escaping the press and drawing fouls. Even the most energetic of pressers couldn’t get close to the ball when it was under the Spaniard’s spell. He was the key figure, along with Messi in that team and it was more noticeable when he wasn’t there than when the likes of Xavi and Iniesta were missing.
He did it for club and country. On the biggest stage.
In one of the most dominant periods in international football history, as Spain won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012, as well as the World Cup in 2010, Busquets played in every major game. At the time when the rifts between Real Madrid and Barcelona stars were at their fiercest, Busquets somehow gelled everything together on the pitch.
He did so with the help of Xavi and Iniesta of course, but Busquets deserves to be talked about alongside those names. He was arguably even better than Xavi. As previously mentioned, it is perhaps his antics that have marginally tarnished his legacy. He loved a dive, and the one against Inter Milan in 2010, where he peaked from behind his hands covering his face riled up many a spectator.
But it was all part of his masterplan. He wound up the opposition and broke up play when he needed to. He stopped the game when he needed to. He protected his teammates, in all situations. Busquests was not only a special footballer, but the exact character that Barcelona needed.
In a flowerbed full of roses, he was the thorn. He was nasty when he needed to be, and even when Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid attempted to overthrow Barcelona with pure force, Busquets met them head on. He let Messi, Xavi and Iniesta play their best stuff, while also being a sumptuous footballer himself.
For that we just need to thank him. His illustrious Barcelona career comes to a close. He’s won everything there is to win, for club and country. Sergio Busquets, one of the best we have ever seen.
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