Life after Busquets: The future of Barcelona pivot role

Sergio Busquets has become synonymous with Barcelona's philosophy but what will happen to his role following the veteran's departure from the club?

If you’re a younger fan or just a younger follower of the club, you’d be forgiven for thinking Sergio Busquets has always been around. After all, that’s not that far from the truth either. According to Transfermarkt, aged 33, the veteran midfielder has already amassed a total of 651 games for the Catalan giant, and that figure is bound to still grow. Going back as far as 2008/09, Busquets has been a mainstay in the team, redefining what everyone has come to expect from the role he now epitomises. For better or worse.

It’s been more than a decade since Barcelona have last had to resort to someone else occupying the pivot position and orchestrating their attacks. And while it’s definitely impressive how dominant and influential Busquets has been in his performances, it’s also a part of a very big problem. What happens once he retires? He’s already in his 30s, losing pace and diminishing physically. Of course, not that those traits have ever really defined him as a player but there comes a time when they start weighing everyone down, regardless of their profiles.

Even with all of that becoming increasingly evident over the years, Barcelona have been unable to find a proper replacement. Not for the lack of trying though. Someone like Frenkie de Jong was always seen as the perfect natural successor to Busquets’ throne and the more recent emergence of Nicolás ‘Nico’ González has prompted fans to ask for the veteran’s systematic phasing out of the team. Out with the old, in with the new. But it’s never that easy, is it?