In Defence of Sergio Busquets' Unsung Role for Barcelona

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMarch 21, 2013

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 03: Sergio Busquets of Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Valencia and Barcelona Estadio Mestalla on February 3, 2013 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Sergio Busquets very rarely gets the credit he deserves, and Barcelona fans are sick of it.

He's an elite midfielder who plays for one of the best teams in the world, and els Blaugrana's performances on the whole are intrinsically linked to this man.

Let's give "Busi" the credit he deserves while debunking some myths in the process.

Busquets plays in one of the more comfortable defensive midfield roles in world football.

Barcelona enjoy such a majority in possession—an average of 69.1 percent per game—that perhaps this is a primary reason for the belief that the Spaniard does "nothing."

He's also despised on a personal level for his antics, but we're judging a player from a purely mechanical and footballing point of view, so diving is thoroughly ignored.

Busquets plays as the deepest of a central midfield three and forms an important link on the ground for Gerard Pique to reach Xavi.

He's tall, he's deceptively quick and he's agile on the ball, recycling possession very well. He's a key part of the tiki-taka system that allows els Blaugrana to "rest in possession," monopolising the ball and staying daisy fresh for 90 minutes.

Some criticise him for recycling the ball too often and ignoring the killer ball on offer, and while his 0.3 key passes per game record lays credence to that theory, that statistic can be misleading to say the least.

The video shows Busi's ability to spot passes between the defensive lines. He can release Lionel Messi in behind the midfield if the pass is on, but that doesn't constitute a "key pass."

This is just as key to Barca moving up the pitch as Xavi's connection with Messi is, and the relief he gives the likes of Javier Mascherano, who still isn't 100-percent comfortable on the ball under pressure, is essential.

He doesn't make the last-ditch challenges or heroic, crunching tackles because he's rarely needed to, and in fact, this video of highlights is ample evidence to suggest he tackles in a clever way when necessary.

Barca's monopoly of the ball is one reason he's not exposed to that necessity, but a lot of credit should be attributed to Busquets in the way he marks players off the pitch.

Did anyone spot Wesley Sneijder in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final? He could be seen peeping out of Sergio's pocket as have many No. 10s over the past four years.

Opposing coaches understand how pivotal Busquets is, and Massimiliano Allegri deployed Giampaolo Pazzini goalside of him throughout Milan's 2-0 victory at the San Siro. That's the highest of compliments.