600 up for Sergio Busquets. Only Xavi, Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta have reached that many appearances for Barça. Busi is a player whose greatest campaigns of support have never come from the media or fans, but from those who know about the game: coaches and football experts — remember Vicente del Bosque and Pep Guardiola’s firm defence of the young midfielder when fighting for the world’s biggest prizes.
His masterclasses have never made noise, but he has always been the first target of criticism when things go wrong. Explaining the Busquets phenomenon is not easy, or maybe it is. Because there are people who have never liked footballers like him and have never tried to understand his game, not even when he was a key piece of the best Barça ever. Since all they see is the tangible things, his positional value has never interested them.
Then there are others who have become ʿtiredʾ of him with the passing of years. As @CaptnGuardiola said on Twitter on Ronald Araújo and Oscar Mingueza, both have made the type of mistakes we criticise Clément Lenglet for, but since they are young, we accept them. Fans want youth and new toys.
But there is no one better than Busquets at what he does. No one. Maybe there are midfielders, like Miralem Pjanić, who have other virtues, such as his quality at the edge of the box. But specifically at what Busquets does, there is no one like Busquets. And what he does is indispensable for the team on and off the ball, no matter how flashy it is. Almost 13 years later, he continues to be an undisputed starter, and a genius in the shadows.