Sergio Busquets is arguably one of the greatest central midfielders of his generation.
The 32-year-old has won the lot during his illustrious career, including eight La Liga titles, six Copas del Rey and three UEFA Champions Leagues.
He also won the World Cup with Spain in 2010, and the European Championship two years later.
For both club and country, Busquets was part of one of the greatest midfield trios ever assembled alongside Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
The least-revered member of the trio, Busquets was nonetheless a hugely important cog in both the Barça and Spain machines.
However, there have been signs in recent times which suggest that Busquets is now in decline.
Barcelona currently find themselves 12th in La Liga after picking up eight points from their opening six fixtures, making this the club’s worst start to a season since the Louis van Gaal era.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw away at Alaves was the latest in a growing list of disappointing results for recently-appointed head coach Ronald Koeman.
Barça fans are frustrated with many things, including Busquets’ recent performances.
The World Cup winner was booked on the stroke of half-time against Alaves and didn’t emerge for the second half. Miralem Pjanic was sent on by Koeman in his place.
This didn’t come as a surprise to those watching the game.
Busquets was very poor during the first half and made a series of avoidable mistakes, as this damning video of his ‘highlights’ shows…
On Marca’s website, meanwhile, Busquets was ranked bottom of every Barcelona player and even the manager (17th out of 17).
“The Catalan midfielder came back into the team to take the place of Pjanic, but didn’t look comfortable alongside [Frenkie] de Jong,” Marca said. “He wasn’t able to move between the lines like the rest of his teammates and appeared awkward in the fluid system.”
Other pundits were also critical of Busquets.
Spanish football journalist Andy West tweeted: “First decision for Koeman is an easy one: Busquets must no longer be first choice. He became a liability off the ball a couple of years ago and will only become more so.”
But that’s nothing compared to what Barcelona fans were tweeting…
Considering everything Busquets has done for Barcelona over the past 12 years, it’s sad to read these critical tweets.
But there’s no denying that the midfielder is fast becoming a problem for Koeman.
- Messi thwarted by Alaves' free-kick tactics
- Messi boots ball towards referee during Alaves vs Barcelona
- Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo: Which footballer is the GOAT?