Spain: Sergio Busquets


Written by Jun Yoon in 2013

Edited by Mariana Calvo, Diego Farias in 2015

Defensive/Central Midfielder, Defender, #16, 25 Years Old




Sergio Busquets, born July 16, 1988 in Sabadell, Spain, is a defensive midfielder for FC Barcelona and Spain[1]. He is known for his defensive positioning, his ability to get to and win loose balls, and his ability to control the flow of the game. Sergio, is renowned for his intelligence on the field and his ability to sense other player’s decisions.  At 1.90 meters tall, Busquets is a skilled defender and offensive player. Busquets may be the most underrated and versatile footballer there is. He is rarely put on the spotlight at Barcelona due to his calm personality and his rather old-school style of play style. He isn’t the fastest or the most skillful player on the pitch but is nonetheless the key to FC Barcelona and Spain’s recent success.


Busquets began his youth career in the CD Badia youth team. He moved around quite often and in 2005 drew the attention of FC Barcelona scouts who invited Busquets to try out at the academy. He joined Barcelona C in 2006 but only played in a single match. In 2007 Busquets played in the Barcelona B team and at the same time was called up to the Spain U21 team. He continuously played well and caught the attention of the new manager at FC Barcelona Josep Guardiola, who ultimately promoted him to play in the first team. He made his debut on September 13, 2008 in the match against Racing Santander. Several days later, he scored his first goal for Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League match against FC Basel. In the same year, Busquets signed a 5 year contract extension until 2013, with a buy-out clause of 80 million Euros. He was called up to the Spanish senior national team on several occasions and made his debut on April 1, 2009 in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Turkey. Busquets continued his improvement in the 2009-10 La Liga season and was ultimately preferred at the holding midfielder position over Yaya Toure. His domination of the position would ultimately cause Toure to leave the team for Manchester City in 2010. His fine form would help Barcelona accomplish the sextuple in 2009: La Liga, Copa del Ray, UEFA Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. For the 2010 World Cup, he was selected by Vicente Del Bosque and was given the role of the holding midfielder that Marcos Senna had previously occupied. Del Bosque complimented on Busquet’s intelligence that “If I were a player, I would be like Busquets“[2]. Busquets helped Spain win its first FIFA World Cup and was able to play in every game that the national team participated in.  He has continued to play at a high level and has already earned a total of 63 caps in the Spanish national team. Busquets’ intelligence has given him an edge over other holding midfielders such as Xabi Alonso and Javi Martinez. However, the Spanish National Team was unable to replicate its success in the 2014 World Cup, when they lost in the first round.  Busquet’s successes on the field earned him the position of fourth captain in the summer of 2014, along with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi. He has also continued to play for the Spanish national team and on September 8, 2014, he scored his first international goal for Spain in a qualifier against Macedonia for the 2016 Euro tournament. He scored once again in another qualifier in a qualifier against B elarus. Busquets has continued to be a consistent player for both the national team and FC Barclelona.   On July 16, 2013, Busquets agreed to a contract extension until 2018 with Barcelona, and his contract was extended further on February 27, 2015, until the 2018/2019 season.




Busquets is renowned for adding much needed grit to Barcelona’s finesse style of play. When in possession, Busquets is either able to retain the ball or find quick passes into space. He is a master at pacing the game, mixing short passes to Xavi or Iniesta, wide passes to the wings and through passes to Messi. When defending he has the knack for reading the plays before they develop which allows him to get to loose balls faster than anyone else on the pitch[3]. He has been complemented by Guardiola, Xavi, Del Bosque, and the list goes on and on. With the new manager Martino at Barcelona, Busquets has grown out of his shoes and has become an all-around threat. He roams higher up the pitch when Barcelona doesn’t have possession, something he hasn’t done in the past. Rather than sitting in front of the defense line, Busquets’ position has become more variable and he adjusts his position according to the opposition playmaker. If the opposition No.10 plays as a shadow striker, Busquets drops down to become the third centerback, which was often the case under the Guardiola system. If the opposition playmaker tries to find space in much deeper midfield positions, Busquets will press and harry him until he can win the ball. For example, in Barca’s 3-2 win over Valencia in September, Busquets’ high press was at its best. In each of Barca’s three goals, Busquets was the key man that started the play. Every time Busquets charged ahead and won the ball, Barcelona was able to slice open the defense with Iniesta and Fabregas to score. Busquets still plays on the FC Barcelona squad, even as the club fails to perform in the way that it once did under Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova. Recently, there has been a lot of debate surrounding  the role of homegrown players from Barcelona  versus the use of international players. However, history has shown that the use of homegrown players who literally grew up with the team are a crucial part of FC Barcelona’s success. If FC Barcelona is to continue to succeed it must exploit the experience and knowledge of homegrown players like Busquets and use them to integrate international players into the team. At twenty seven years old, Busquets does not have a lot of time left playing for Barcelona, but Barcelona must continue to train players like him if they want to win more championships in the future.


His world cup performance:

In the 2014 World Cup, he had total playing time of 180 minutes. He started during Spain’s 5-1 loss to the Netherlands and the subsequent 2-0 loss to Chile [4]. Most memorably, during the match against Chile, Busquets had one of the best goal scoring chances of his team, but he missed from about a meter away from the goal line. He did not play in his team’s 3-0 win against Australia. Spain went out of the tournament in the group phase.

Sergio Busquets misses his team's best goal scoring chance against Chile, in Spain's 2-0 loss.

Sergio Busquets misses his team’s best goal scoring chance against Chile, in Spain’s 2-0 loss. Photo:

After the world cup

Sergio Busquets returned to Barcelona where he has had a very good season, with 24 caps [5]. Barcelona is currently in 2nd place in La Liga, are still in the run for the Copa del Rey, and as of this writing, seem poised to go through to the quarter finals of the Champions League, after defeating Manchester City by 2-1 in the first leg of the round of 16, played at the Etihad in Manchester. He continues to be an integral part of Barcelona’s starting XI. His contract was renewed on February 2015, proving how important he is to the club. [6]



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Continue on to Group C – Colombia: Radamel Falcao

Group B – Australia: Tim Cahill

Group B – Chile: Alexis Sánchez

Group B – Netherlands: Arjen Robben

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Learn about Spain’s National Anthem


How to cite this article: “Spain: Sergio Busquets,” Written by Jun Yoon (2013), World Cup 2014, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)).


Works Cited:

[1] Sergio Busquets Bio,

[2] Francesc Tomas, Love him or Hate him, Sergio Busquets is a genius,

[3] Michael Cox, Sergio Busquets has become a key component for the new Barcelona,

[4] “FIFA world cup – Busquets –” N.p., 2014. Web. Mar 2, 2015. <>

[5] “Sergio Busquets – player profile. ESPN FC”. <>. N.p. 2015. Web. Mar 2, 2015.

[6] “Sergio Busquets’ new contract a deserved reward for Barca’s quiet star”. N.p., 2015. Web. Mar 2, 2015.

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