Sergio Busquets is one game short of 200 official appearances for FC Barcelona, which makes him feel important but he is still hungry to win titles. “I want to keep winning, that’s what footballers live and work for” he said in an interview with Barça TV and fcbarcelona.cat in which he spoke about his professional targets and how he behaves when he’s off the pitch.
After almost two hundred games for Barça, do you feel that you have won the respect of the fans, coaches and world football in general?
“I feel that they respect me, that I have achieved a lot in these 199 games, I have won a lot of titles … I feel important at Barça and in the national team and I’m pleased with that recognition. It feels like only yesterday that I hadn’t played any games and now it’s 200 and I hope there will be a whole lot more.”
People highlight your maturity and how courageous you are despite being so young. Was that nature or nurture?
“I think is was more nature than nurture. Of course the more you play the more confident you get and the more experienced you get, but a lot of that has to come from when you were a kid.”
What’s the best praise you’ve ever had? And does criticism hurt you?
“The best praise is the confidence of my team mates and the coach, that’s most important on an internal and external level. As for criticism, I try to ignore the papers and sports shows as much as I can, but all criticism is good and constructive.”
In your role as a defensive midfielder, although you’re doing well, is there still anything left to learn?
“There are a lot of things I need to improve. No player is perfect and me less so. I’d like to improve my shooting, my long passes and a lot of tactical aspects that might not get noticed, but I am still not getting them quite right.”
What would have become of Busquets if Guardiola had not handed you your debut that day against Racing?
“I don’t know. I can’t imagine. Perhaps I’d have stayed in the reserves and who knows whether sooner or later I’d have made the first team anyway, or if I’d have gone to another club … I never think about it. I’m happy with what happened and what’s happening now.”
Do you remember that week?
“Yes, I had been training for a few days with the first team and I got sick with two days to go before the game. I came to train all the same and said I had slept badly. With one day to go, they asked if I felt okay to play and I said I was fine, that I was perfectly ready”.
Were you nervous?
“No, I think more than nerves it was wondering what it would be like. New team mates, such a big stadium … it was all new. More than nerves it was not knowing what was going to happen.”
Did it meet or surpass your expectations?
“It was what I expected. To surpass my expectations, we’d have had to win, that’s what was important. Personally, I think I did well for my first match, but it was a shame that they equalised, a goal from a free kick with a rebound.”
Out of nearly two hundred games, which brings back the best personal memories? And the worst?
“I couldn’t pick one. You always remember the first, the win away to Sporting, when I played well and we thrashed them, it was that team’s first win in the league and we really needed it. From there, we started moving up and never stopped. The worst ones are when you miss out on a title, they’re the worst moments for a footballer because you spend all season trying to get there and it’s difficult when you lose out.”
You have won all there is for a footballer. What’s left for Busquets?
“To keep winning. That’s what we work for, why we live. A player is different when he wins, he’s happier, he’s more relaxed and that’s what’s left for me.”
Has the Sergio Busquets of 2008 and that of 2012 changed as a person?
“No, I don’t think I have. Maybe a bit, because what I have done isn’t normal, but I’m the same person. Perhaps a biut more reserved, a bit shier with people … I hadn’t expected all this when I was a kid and it’s all come so fast.”
Would you like to captain Barça one day?
“Yes. Puyol and Xavi are an example for me and I’d like to be like them, that would mean I’ve been here a long time and have won recognition and that would be important.”
"I feel that they respect me, that I have achieved a lot in these 199 games, I have won a lot of titles … I feel important at Barça and in the national team and I’m pleased with that recognition"
"The best praise is the confidence of my team mates and the coach, that’s most important on an internal and external level"
"Puyol and Xavi are an example for me and I’d like to be like them, that would mean I’ve been here a long time and have won recognition and that would be important.”