Often unsung but always indispensable, Sergio Busquets has entered Barcelona history by joining the club’s all-time top ten appearance makers, equalling José Ramón Alexanko’s 406 outings in the defeat at Atletic Club in the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16.
The son of former Barça goalkeeper Carles Busquets – himself a 1992 European Cup winner – midfielder Sergio has broken into the top ten aged 28, little over eight years since his debut against Racing Santander. En route he has collected 24 major trophies, including three UEFA Champions Leagues and six Liga titles.
UEFA.com looks at the illustrious company the Spanish international now keeps.
1 Xavi Hernández (767)
The puppet master of Josep Guardiola’s all-conquering side, Xavi spent an astonishing 17 seasons at the heart of the Azulgrana midfield, lifting 25 trophies.
2 Andrés Iniesta (607*)
Guardiola said the little magician would “retire us all” when he first laid eyes on a teenage Iniesta, and the midfielder continues to dazzle at 32.
3 Carles Puyol (593)
One of four players on the list to make his debut under Louis van Gaal, Puyol’s warrior-like defending ensured Barça’s rearguard was never easily breached.
4 Lionel Messi (552*)
Barcelona’s top scorer and greatest player ever, the Argentinian has taken on twin roles of constructing the team’s play and arming the attack alongside Luis Suárez and Neymar. Together with Iniesta, the club’s most decorated player.
4 Migueli (549)
The leading appearance maker till he was overtaken by Xavi, the centre-half bossed the Blaugrana back line for 15 seasons, always sporting a trademark bushy moustache.
6 Víctor Valdés (539)
The Catalan custodian burst into Barça’s side from the academy aged 20 and was never dislodged, landing three UEFA Champions Leagues and six Liga crowns before departing in 2014.
7 Carles Rexach (449)
The locally born winger spent nearly four decades at Camp Nou in various capacities, playing alongside Johan Cruyff before becoming his trusted assistant. Perhaps his most crucial post was that of scout, convincing a 13-year-old Messi to move to Barcelona and writing out his contract on a napkin.
8 Guillermo Amor (431)
The midfielder enjoyed a decade in the Blaugrana first team after four years in the academy. He now coaches Adelaide United in Australia and recently led his charges to an A-League double.
9 Andoni Zubizarreta (410)
The dependable No1 in Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ that captured Barça’s first European Cup in 1992, Zubizarreta is currently sporting director at Marseille.
10= José Ramón Alexanko (406)
The centre-back was 24 when swapping Athletic Club for Barcelona and he stayed until he was 37 – picking up 15 medals, including two European Cup Winners’ Cups and a European Cup.
10= Sergio Busquets (406*)
At the club since he was 17, Busquets has made himself as indispensible as Xavi, Iniesta or Messi since breaking into the first team in 2008, holding the midfield and allowing the more creative players freedom to show their flair.
*Still at the club