Sergio Busquets, Spain’s third-highest appearance maker, has announced his retirement from international football.
Busquets captained Spain in each of their four games at the World Cup in Qatar, and his final act in a Spain shirt was missing a penalty in the shoot-out defeat to Morocco, as Luis Enrique’s side were knocked out at the last 16 stage.
However, that will be a long way down the list of moments Spain fans remember Busquets as a stalwart in an era-defining side and a key player for club and country for over a decade.
Busquets made his debut for La Roja against Turkey in April 2009 and went on to make 143 appearances, behind only Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos in the country’s history.
The Barcelona midfielder only ever scored two international goals but his passing, pace-setting, tackling and football intelligence were what made him an integral player in a successful side so much so that Spain without Busquets is difficult to imagine.
As part of his announcement, Busquets thanked those who have helped him on the way to greatness.
“I would like to thank all the people who have accompanied me on this long journey. From Vicente del Bosque who gave me the opportunity to start, to Luis Enrique for making me enjoy it until the last second. I also thank Julen Lopetegui, Fernando Hierro and Robert Moreno for their trust, as well as all their 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,” wrote Busquets on Instagram.
“It has been an honour 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 went the right way,” expressed the veteran midfielder.
The 34-year-old has a World Cup and a European Championship to his name and has been one of the most consistent high-performing midfielders over the last ten years. (ANI)