Football News

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets reads the game better than anyone – Dimitar Berbatov

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:55, 21 March 2019 | Updated: 9:14, 9 July 2021

Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has hailed Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets for his reading of the game.

Despite his stature in the game, Busquets is often an unsung hero in a Barcelona side full of stars, with Lionel Messi often receiving the plaudits for the club’s successes.

What makes Busquets so good? Five key things to know…

  1. Sergio Busquets is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world.
  2. The Spaniard is key to Barcelona and Spain’s possessional playing styles.
  3. And Dimitar Berbatov believes Busquets is often three steps ahead of his opponents, helping him control games.
  4. Busquets and Barcelona are set to face Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
  5. Sergio Busquets has completed 89.75% of his attempted passes in La Liga this season.

The Spaniard is the calm metronome at the heart of Barcelona’s midfield, providing the transition between defence and attack, making the hard look simply effortless.

And Berbatov believes Busquets is often three steps ahead of almost everyone he shares a pitch with.

“I like Sergio Busquets, for example,” he told Manchester United’s official website.

“That guy can read the game better than anyone else. Three steps ahead of the opposition, three steps ahead of most of his team-mates – probably not Messi, but up there with him. Unbelievable.

“Tall as me, slim as me, not the quickest one, but always in the right place. He has that style that I like. Calm. People at the back of him? It doesn’t matter. He’s there, smooth movements.

“I heard they call him ‘octopus’ in Barcelona. He’s unbelievable, it’s a joy to watch him. Ok, sometimes it’s ugly as when you’re tall as me or him, sometimes your movement can make for funny angles.

“It doesn’t matter, it does the job. That’s why I like watching him.”

Busquets’ abilities will be a test for Berbatov’s former side to deal with when Manchester United take on Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

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Berbatov compares himself to Busquets

As his playing career went on, Berbatov became known for his nonchalance on the pitch, controlling even the hardest of balls with minimal movement. His playing style was so aesthetically pleasing, the Bulgarian has been the subject of various video compilations purely showing his first touches – at a time when strikers may be more used to goalscoring reels.

And Berbatov has gone into detail on how he tried to play his game as Busquets does, with calmness and heavy anticipation.

He added: “When I was playing I tried to do the same thing: smooth, anticipate the game, reading of the game, the ball is travelling towards me, I’m already watching where the other guy is, did he start to run, did he stand in one place accepting the ball, is someone attacking me from the back? All this stuff needs to be in your head, to anticipate. This becomes a style of play.

“Most important, be calm on the ball. I see players who are fighting with the ball, wrestling with the ball… don’t get me wrong, you need to have players like this, you need that mix because this kind of player will take the ball and pass it to you, and then you start to control.

“But for me it was always calm. Someone is coming? Remain calm. This is how I used to play. In football, calm is cool.”