Sergio Busquets is one of the most complete players of his generation
Sergio Busquets is Barcelona's most important player.
It's quite a claim, but before you seek to debunk the myth, just take a moment to ponder on what this quiet and unassuming 25-year-old brings to this team.
In the new world order, Busquets represents a harking back to the "old school" footballer.
Far from being out of date however, the man from Sabadell possesses all of the desirable qualities needed for today's total footballer.
Let's take a look at why this Barca side should be indebted to Sergio Busquets.
Whilst not a box-to-box type midfielder, Busquets is the engine of Barca's midfield.
You wouldn't necessarily associate Sergio Busquets with being an archetypal "box-to-box" midfielder, in perhaps the way Bastian Schweinsteiger is for Bayern Munich or Yaya Toure for Manchester City, but there is not much doubt that he is the engine room of this Barcelona side.
From the first minute to the last, Busquets can be relied upon to provide the supplementary presence required in an offensive or defensive sense.
Indeed, Lee Roden of Talksport noted the:
Increasingly exhausted image of Sergio Busquets running around the pitch like a man possessed, asked to put out fires more numerous than his two legs alone can cope with.
It's this "dirty work" that is often alluded to and which Busquets carries out with the minimum of fuss.
Whilst he may not be as dynamic as Schweinsteiger in the attacking third, that should in no way diminish Busquets' role.
Busquets is an able central defender when required.
Busquets represents an immovable barrier between the Barca defence and midfield. As squawka.com identify, so far this season the player hasn't made a single defensive error.
With almost a third of the La Liga games already played, it's a definitive statistic which highlights in simple terms Busquets' huge importance to this Barcelona side.
Take a look at this video to appreciate the work that Busquets does which generally goes unnoticed.
The passing stats for Busquets are on a par with the more celebrated Xavi.
Mention passing statistics and the first Barcelona player that springs to mind is Xavi Hernandez.
Of course there can be little doubt that Xavi is possibly the greatest passer of the ball in world football, yet Busquets regularly exceeds a 90 percent pass completion rate, per whoscored.com.
That sort of contribution deserves more than cursory acknowledgment.
Indeed, Xavi himself has often described the impact his colleague has on the game, and has even been known to suggest that Busquets is "never wrong" per Mark Doyle of Goal.com.
To be able to successfully dispatch a pass in the blink of an eye—as quick as 0.4 seconds on occasion according to Arsenal Column—on as continuous a basis as Busquets does, is quite simply passing of the highest quality.
In some of the clips in the video above, Busquets hardly moves. Perhaps a yard or two at most.
Yet his spatial awareness and appreciation of the developing move, of where to be and what to do next, is peerless.
One of the hardest things to learn as a footballer is the anticipation of what will happen next and it comes so naturally to Busquets that we, as appreciative bystanders, tend to take it very much for granted.
It's a simple act yes, but one that only the very best players execute with any degree of success.
Whilst the football world generally kowtow to Xavi and Andres Iniesta as the masters of "tiki-taka", they should not forget that Busquets is also a key component in the success of the style.
Busquets' awareness is second to none.
There are two very famous Johan Cruyff quotes that sum up Sergio Busquets in a nutshell.
Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.
To play well, you need good players, but a good player almost always has the problem of a lack of efficiency. He always wants to do things prettier than strictly necessary.
Break down any part of Busquets' game, and it revolves around the simplicity of play and perhaps this is why some supporters don't laud him in the same way as the more high profile Barca stars.
Speak to those within the game however, and they understand what an immense talent Busquets is. Pep Guardiola and Vicente Del Bosque are just two to have publicly acknowledged his attributes, per Frances Tomas of ESPN.