While his over-exaggerations after being fouled often draw comparisons to a Hollywood actor, Sergio Busquets’ contribution to the game in his short career merits a place in football stardom. The 25-year old has revolutionized the holding-midfield role and has won nearly every trophy possible in a little over 250 appearances for the club.
It seems like just yesterday that a young, lanky midfielder by the name of Sergio Busquets made his debut for Barcelona in a 1-1 draw against Racing Santander. Pep Guardiola had just taken over the hotseat at the Camp Nou after managing Barça’s B team where he coached Busquets, the 20-year old was pivotal to the team’s promotion to Spain’s second tier and Pep believed he was ready to compete for a place in the first team. A few mistakes had some debating his capability of ever holding a regular place in the side but by the end of the campaign he had taken Yaya Toure’s place, made his full debut for the Spanish national side, starred in the Champions League final in Rome and won an unprecedented treble with Barça. The rest is history as ‘Busi’ has gone on to win 15 major trophies for his club, including two Champions League successes as well as a World Cup and European Championship medal with Spain.
The recent transfer of Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid to AS Monaco caused quite a stir; many were shocked to see one of the top strikers in world football move to a newly-promoted French side when the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United held strong interests. What was not addressed so clearly was how much of an impact the third-party owners, who hold a large stake in the Colombian’s rights, had in the move. Falcao came in for plenty of criticism and was accused of moving solely for the money but it may came a surprise to many that he had little to no say in the decision due to the nature of third-party ownerships (TPOs).
LFC: “Journalist and La Liga expert Andreas Vou tells us what we can expect from new striker Iago Aspas”
I was delighted to have been asked by Liverpool FC to give my thoughts on their new signing, Iago Aspas. Here’s what I wrote:
Follow me on Twitter: @andreasvou89
In the past week where Real Madrid’s academy was the hot topic in the Spanish capital, sparked by Jose Mourinho’s public criticism of the ‘B’ team’s manager for his failure to assist the youths’ ascension, it would be ironic that the Merengues’ cup victory last Wednesday would be sealed by a debut goal from La Fabrica’s most highly-rated prospect, further igniting the debate.
The world champions’ possession obsession could lead to their downfall against Europe’s top nations
Spain are undoubtedly one of the strong favorites to win this year’s European Championship, the current holders possess quality in abundance in all positions and have mastered a playing style which allows them to dominate each game they play. They had a 100% record in their qualifying group and while most countries have a hard decision who to include in their 23-man squad for the tournament, Vicente Del Bosque has a headache choosing who to leave out.
In spite of all of this, Spain need to be very careful. Not because their defensive rock Carles Puyol and all-time record goalscorer David Villa are both out injured.
What they need to be wary of against the better nations is their greatest asset, possession – the fabric of the Spaniards’ game; constant short passes which drain the opponent into submission, what has become known as ‘tiki-taka’. Before you think I am suggesting Spain need to change their style, I am not. The only problem is that, at times, they have become addicted to possession for possession’s sake only, sacrificing incision and width to purely dominate big games.
While some oil-rich clubs around Europe pursue success with their bottomless pits of cash, other clubs on the continent have proven that a solid structure, youth investment, team spirit and a strict transfer policy can be just as effective, if not more. Andreas Vou picks his top three surprise teams of the 2011-12 season (in no particular order)