“It has been an honor to represent my country”

“I would like to announce that after almost 15 years and 143 matches, the time has come to say goodbye to the national team.” With this message through social networks, he announced this Friday Sergio Busquets his goodbye to the Spanish team. The Fútbol Club Barcelona footballer, who participated with Spain as captain in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, thus puts an end to a brilliant international career.

With his departure, the national team loses the last of the footballers who participated in the greatest conquest of Spanish football, the triumph in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Two years later he also participated in Euro 2012. «It has been an honor to represent my country and take it to the top, “explains the player in the statement with which he bids farewell to the national team. “Always giving everything and contributing my grain of sand so that everything was the best possible and that everyone felt how important they are.”

Busquets was clear that his time with the national team was coming to an end. Despite what was said by Luis Enrique (“I want to convince him to also play in the next World Cup”), the player knew that Qatar would be his last major competition. The only question that was still on his mind was whether he should rush this final stage until next June or bring it forward to this moment. The departure of Luis Enrique was decisive in his decision. Busquets resigns from leading the team in the Final Four of the Nations League, which will be played next June, and prefers to leave Luis de la Fuente free to form a team to his liking without the tether of having him alone for a few months. Among the tasks of La Rioja as a new coach, finding a guaranteed replacement for the midfielder position is already marked in red. Rodri He continues to be the first option, even though he was used as a central defender in the World Cup. De la Fuente believes that the City player will give him a better performance in his usual position. As a replacement, it should be the time of the realist Martín Zubimendi.

“Busquets is an iconic figure in Spanish football, an exemplary athlete, an irreproachable professional and an indisputable leader,” reflected the note with which Luis Rubiales said goodbye to the man who has been the captain of the national team in recent years. «I have known Sergio and his family since he was eleven years old when I shared a dressing room with his father at Lleida. He unites me with a great friendship with his parents and sometimes my heart can make my words less objective: I don’t mean it either, Sergio is a player who will transcend generations because of his immense legacy.

Busquets made it to the national team in 2009. He had only been a First Division player for a few months, and he had not had a notable presence in the lower categories either. But his performance at Pep Guardiola’s Barça, who was the one who promoted him to the first team, caught the attention of Vicente del Bosque. The man from Salamanca also fell in love with Busquets, who dedicated one of the most celebrated and iconic phrases about him: “If I were to be a player again, I would like to look like Busquets.”

The player from Badía del Vallés made a call-up for the first time in February, in a friendly against England in which he did not get to jump onto the pitch. A month later he returns and plays his first minutes as an international at the Ali Sami Yen in Istanbul in a 1-2 victory against Turkey. Busquets enters the field in the first half, substituting David Silva.

His entry into the team is gradual. He is still a substitute in the 2009 Confederations Cup, where Spain finished third. But a year later he is already starting the World Cup in South Africa. The defeat against Switzerland made him one of those noted, but not for Del Bosque, who continued to trust in the partnership he formed with Xabi Alonso in the midfielder that ended up giving such good results.

He leaves with 143 games, the third in the historical ranking only behind Sergio Ramos (180) and Íker Casillas (167). He had to experience the best moments of the national team, but also the most bitter. The elimination in Brazil and the disaster of Russia. His fourth World Cup did not go well either. His last action as a Spanish footballer was the missed penalty in the shootout against Morocco. A minute later, after Achraf’s goal, the team was eliminated.

The resignation from the national team also anticipates what will be his last months as a Barcelona player. His contract ends in June, and on his way to turning 35, the midfielder speeds up his stay in the elite to face a more placid future in the American league.

Full message from Busquets:

«I would like to announce that after almost 15 years and 143 matches, the time has come to say goodbye to the national team. I would like to thank all the people who have accompanied me on this long road. From Vicente del Bosque who gave me the opportunity to start, to Luis Enrique for making me enjoy until the last second. I also thank Julen Lopetegui, Fernando Hierro and Robert Moreno for their trust, as well as all of his staff.

And of course to each and every one of my teammates, with whom I have struggled to try to take the team where it deserved, with more or less success but always giving everything and with the greatest of pride.

I do not want to forget any member of the expedition, who, being in the background, have been just as important (physios, doctors, kit men, delegates, nutritionists, staff, press, security, travel, etc…) and all the people and workers who have crossed my path and have made it so special.

Also to presidents, managers, sports directors, and to those who, in one way or another, have been part of the federation.

To all the followers, for the daily support received and especially when things did not turn out as we expected. That is when you are most needed and most united you have to be. To all of you, thank you!

And of course, most importantly, my family. For supporting me at all times and in all my decisions and sharing this path while being away for many days and making me always feel close so that I could give my best.

It has been an honor to represent my country and take it to the top, to be a World and European champion, to be Captain and to play so many games, with greater or lesser success but always giving everything and contributing my grain of sand so that everything was the right way. as possible and that everyone felt how important they are, helping everyone and fighting for the same goal, with unique, unforgettable and historical experiences.

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).

Finally, I can only wish my teammates and the new coach Luis de la Fuente all the luck in the world. Now I will be one more fan, I will enjoy and unconditionally support our team.

Eternal thanks»


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