Why 'Snowplough' Sergio Busquets Is so Vital for Luis Enrique's Barcelona

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMarch 3, 2015

Sergio Busquets doing what he does best.
Sergio Busquets doing what he does best.Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Sergio Busquets signing another contract extension was just about the best news Barcelona could've received last week.

An absolutely integral piece of the jigsaw at Camp Nou, so much of Busquets' work is still overlooked even if more supporters are now coming to appreciate just what the defensive midfielder brings to the party.

His Barca team-mates and students of the game remain in awe of just how simple but effective Busquets makes his role as pivot.

In a recent interview, Sid Lowe of The Guardian noted:

He (Busquets) squirms slightly when the eulogies are quoted: Johan Cruyff said he was “a gift for any manager” and his managers agree. Guardiola said he was “priceless”; Luis Enrique describes him as “almost perfect”; Vicente del Bosque claimed that if he could come back as any player it would be as Busquets.

Xavi Hernández called him the “snowplough”, clearing all before him. Since 2010, only Dani Alves has made more tackles at Barcelona, but he is not the stereotypical muscular figure flying into challenges that puts opponents on their backsides and fans on their feet.

Lowe also quoted former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola in his column for ESPN FC:

He understands messages immediately, knows the team's needs and adapts to them discreetly: he sees problems and provides solutions.

He plays with simplicity and clarity.

Often calmness personified, Busquets rarely gets flustered while in possession. His caress of the ball is almost serene at times and at odds with the "dirty work" that goes with the territory.

It's worth remembering also that Busquets is still just 26 years of age and his best years are still 18 months to two years away, which is a frightening prospect.

Having your current manager refer to you as "almost perfect" could arguably give a player ideas well above their station, but not Busquets. He still goes about his work in the same common sense manner as always.

And that is precisely what Sergio Busquets is about. Common sense.

If an easy ball can be played, the defensive midfielder is adept at always being able to find that route. No need to ever over-play. Get it, give it.

In many respects Busquets' style is "lowest common denominator" football, stripping football back to its absolute basic level but such a term must be seen as a compliment rather than discourtesy or a lack of respect.

Because there isn't another player anywhere that plays football in such a simple, yet beautiful way.

Yes, there can even be beauty in picking the pockets of opposition attackers, recycling possession for the Catalans to build again. 

To understand precisely what it is that Busquets brings to Barcelona and to Spain is to watch both teams without their defensive midfielder in situ.

Alex Song has shown while on loan at West Ham what an accomplished player he still is in the position but there was no comparison to Busquets when the former was ensconsed at Barca. The two simply weren't from the same school of excellence.

Furthermore, Javier Mascherano was relegated to the role of central defender because he was unable to dislodge "Busi" and Yaya Toure was sold to Manchester City after Pep Guardiola's rapid promotion of a then 21-year-old.

Decisions that speak volumes and give some perspective.

In six years, Busquets has scored only eight goals yet he remains more than happy with his lot, per the interview with Lowe:

Forwards get the plaudits and goals are football’s essence. But I’m not selfish like that, I don’t long for praise or the lead role.

I’d rather the strikers scored [than me]; they live off goals. I don’t care. If I did, I wouldn’t play in this position. I love my role, I love the job I do.

That role is one, detailed by WhoScored.com, where Busquets has never slipped below an 89.5 percent pass accuracy (currently 91.6), and where he has an average of 2.7 tackles per game (3.2 this season).

Figures that are better than the majority of his more celebrated team-mates.

"Simplicity is genius" is an oft-quoted phrase in football circles. It could've been invented for Sergio Busquets.

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