Sergio Busquets should play his last Barcelona match in a tuxedo.
The elegance with which he played will be his trademark, the thing that will forever separate him from every other defensive midfielder to have ever played the greatest sport in the universe.
There will never be another Sergio Busquets. His football DNA is impossible to recreate, his style inimitable. His grace, poise, and quiet dominance, unparalleled. Others were just as good; none ever looked as beautiful.
But the most remarkable thing about Sergio Busquets is this: if you didn’t pay attention, you never noticed his greatness. He was a quiet poet, writing masterpieces of football IQ while Lionel Messi scored hat-tricks and Andrés Iniesta performed another magic act.
Your eye needed to be trained to focus on all the subtleties of his brilliance. Sergio Busquets created entire passing sequences that resulted in unforgettable team goals with a simple, first-touch pass with his back turned to an opponent who was rushing from behind to intercept the ball.
30 seconds and 26 passes later, Messi would curl a left-footed beauty into the top corner and receive the admiration of Camp Nou and the football world. Yet that goal would have never happened if not for that moment of almost imperceptible genius by Sergio Busquets.
He was smarter, sharper and quicker than everyone else, even though he looks like he can’t run to save his life. But he cut counter-attacks at the source with perfectly timed interceptions, he won crucial headers in big moments, he led by example, he was almost never injured, and he was as professional as any player in the history of the club.
Some say the game has passed him by, evolving into a hyperspeed pace of constant motion in the age of TikToks, YouTube Shorts and short attention spans. But the game will miss Sergio Busquets telling the world to stop and breathe for just a second before he decides which piece of the puzzle he’ll uncover next.
Sergio Busquets was a puppet master. But not in an evil, horror movie kind of way. He controlled everything by simply taking the ball, and passing it. And doing it again and again until one of his team-mates got the glory that he never wanted but would never exist without him.
He leaves at the perfect time, having his best season in a half-decade as the Barça captain who will get to lift the La Liga trophy for the first time in four years. He reminded us that he’s still got it and he leaves us all wanting more, wishing he’d stick around for just one more season. A genius indeed.
Thank you, Sergio Busquets. It has been a pleasure watching you play. A lot of people may not have read your quiet poetry, but every Barcelona fan knows that nothing good ever happened without you.