The midfielder, world and European champion with Spain, closes his glorious journey at La Roja with 143 caps behind him
After almost fourteen years and 143 international matches that place him third in the historical ranking after Sergio Ramos (180) and Iker Casillas (167), Sergio Busquets announced this Friday his retirement from the Spanish team with four World Cups and three European Championships played behind their backs. The Badia del Vallès midfielder, who wore the captain’s armband during the World Cup in Qatar, has chosen to leave La Roja after the failure of the team led by Luis Enrique.
Despite the fact that Luis de la Fuente, the new Spanish coach, had expressed the desire to count on him as an important piece in the face of the new stage that is opening in the national team, Busquets believes that the time has come to close a glorious journey which has as its high points the conquest of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and the Euro Cup in 2012 played in Poland and Ukraine.
«It has been an honor to represent my country and take it to the top, to be world and European champion, to be captain and play so many games, with more or less success but always giving everything and contributing my grain of sand so that everything was the best possible and that everyone felt how important they are, helping everyone and fighting for the same goal, with unique, unforgettable and historic experiences, “says the pivot after adopting a decision that he had been meditating on for months.
“It has been an honor to represent my country and take it to the top, to be world and European champion, to be captain and play so many games, with more or less success but always giving everything”
Barça and national team midfielder
«I still get goosebumps remembering it. I will miss him a lot (seeing the squad list, taking the airlift, greeting my teammates, enjoying the training sessions, the endless pocha games, going out to play, but not before shouting together, listening to the national anthem hugging or feel the affection of an entire country)”, continues a footballer who was always greatly appreciated within La Roja for his discreet and serene leadership, as well as for his exceptional ability to handle all the levers of his position with that peripheral vision that gave him characterizes.
It was Vicente del Bosque who gave him the alternative as an international on April 1, 2009 in a match against Turkey corresponding to the qualifying phase for the World Cup in South Africa. Spain, who had just touched the sky in the Eurocup in Austria and Switzerland a year before at the hands of Luis Aragonés, was the epicenter of football with his successful ‘tiki taca’ and the coach from Salamanca found Barça’s disciplined ‘stopper’ a kind of extension of him on the grass.
“If I were a player I would like to look like Busquets,” Del Bosque would say shortly after in one of the most fiery praises on record about a figure, on the other hand, unanimously respected. “He does everything, he is constantly willing to help the team, he is generous, he empties defensively, and he is one of the first to start playing soccer. And when he is well, football becomes more fluid, “added who would take him to sew the star of the world champion in 2010 on his shirt.
Anchor of an unrepeatable generation
Not in vain, Busquets was a key element in the best years of La Roja, when he formed a legendary midfield along with players of the stature of Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta. He served as the umbilical cord between that unrepeatable generation that rose to the top at Soccer City in Johannesburg and the new crop of values promoted by Luis Enrique.
The Asturian, as in the past with Julen Lopetegui, Fernando Hierro or Robert Moreno, could not conceive of the selection without the guidance of Busquets, so, on the eve of the Qatari event that would end up closing his career on the bench of La Red, pointed out that his objective was to convince Busquets to continue. But the midfielder preferred to step aside and pave the way for the regeneration process that Luis de la Fuente will undertake.
«Champion of everything, he has drawn an immense trajectory that is already in the history of football. But there is a more important question: the human profile of him. In that, Sergio is also unbeatable.”
President of the FEF
“Sergio Busquets is an iconic figure in Spanish football, an exemplary athlete, an irreproachable professional and an indisputable leader”, highlighted the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, once Busquets’ goodbye to the national team was known. The top federation leader also wanted to highlight the role of Busquets in the dressing room: «Sergio is a silent, serene leader and admired by all for his humility and naturalness. Champion of everything, he has drawn an immense career that is already in the history of football. But there is a more important question: the human profile of him. In that, Sergio is also unbeatable. Busquets deserves to decide when and how and our only path is gratitude. Thank you, Sergio, for your dedication and loyalty to the team, you are one of the most important assets of Spanish football”, Rubiales praised.