LIONEL MESSI, has just received, for the third consecutive year, FIFA’s Player of the Year Award – and he thoroughly deserves every one of them. Along with MESSI, in the Barcelona team, there are several other players, such as XAVI, INIESTA, ALVES etc. who are also star players and equally deserve praise for their outstanding playing qualities. Also, on the sideline, PEP. GUARDIOLA, has received the FIFA, coach of the Year Award. Once again, nobody should be surprised considering the success he has had over the past few years; he has developed and nurtured a brilliant football team that is a joy to watch.
The brilliance of FC Barcelona, is not down to one or two players, it is about the combination of all their individually skilful players that has been so awe-inspiring –and so different! Many ex star players consider the present Barcelona displays as the best football they have ever seen; even better than the Brazilian World Cup winners of the past! The present Barcelona style of play has brought hope back to the game. Their football has ignored the ‘kick and rush’ methods that have gained such a foothold on the game here as well as in many other countries and shown that there is another and more attractive and effective way to play.
A player who is central to Barcelona’s success but who receives far less notice or accolades is SERGIO BUSQUETS. For me, this player demonstrates a unique playing ability; he is a true ‘Total Footballer’. From his central role in the team’s formation, he provides both attacking and defensive qualities that allows the system to function so smoothly. His playing discipline and complete understanding of his role, provides the hub for the team’s impressive, offensive positional interchanges – whilst others leave gaps on their forward ‘excursions’, it is BUSQUETS, who covers the space(s) they have vacated. But it is not just defensively that he is so important, his ability to link play and make the occasional break forward himself reflects a tremendous all-round playing talent.
BUSQUETS, the tall, multi-talented, mid-field sentinel, has become the epitomy of Barcelona’s playing method; one minute he may be duelling for a ball in the air in his own penalty area and then in a few moments, be making a crucial tackle or a defence-splitting pass in mid-field. But his ability does not stop here, for he has individual playing qualities that provide goals for others as well as himself whenever an opportunity to move into more advanced attacking positions arises.
Too often players like BUSQUETS, are denied the recognition that their talent, discipline and playing intellect deserves. Let it be known that PREMIER SKILLS is all about the obvious qualities of all the players in the Barcelona squad, but one has to ask, would it all function so well without the brilliance of the ‘silent sentinel’, SERGIO BUSQUETS, at the heart of it?