Midfielder Sergio Busquets to leave Barcelona after 18 years at Nou Camp; 34-year-old Spain international has played 719 times for the club he joined as a teenager; Busquets will leave when his contract expires on June 30
Wednesday 10 May 2023 13:42, UK
Long-serving Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has announced he will leave the club this summer at the end of his contract, after 18 years at the Nou Camp.
Busquets has spent his entire professional career at the club where his father also played, but announced in a Twitter video he will not renew his contract when it expires on June 30. He has been captain of his boyhood club since 2021.
The 34-year-old first joined Barca from Jabac Terrassa as a 15-year-old and went on to make more than 700 appearances for his local club, winning 23 major honours including eight LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues.
Even in latter years, Busquets has continued to serve as a regular member of the Barcelona first team and has made at least 30 appearances in each of his 15 seasons with the senior squad - only five players have featured more for the club during this campaign.
His emergence served as a hallmark of the Pep Guardiola era in Catalonia, as he was handed his first LaLiga appearance by the then-new boss in September 2008 and went on to form part of a formidable midfield trio alongside Andres Iniesta and Xavi, the current Barcelona manager.
Even as a 19-year-old, he would go on to feature 41 times in his debut season and earned his first LaLiga, Champions League and Copa Del Rey titles in that campaign.
"It has been an unforgettable journey," he said in the video announcing his departure. "Since I was a child coming to the matches, or watching them on TV, I always dreamed of playing with this shirt at this stadium.
"The reality has exceeded all my dreams. I wouldn't have believed you if you told me when I arrived as a youth player that I would play 15 seasons for the best club in the world, the club of my life, of which I have been, am and always will be a fan, member, player, captain, and surpass 700 matches."
Busquets' final game for the club could be a newly announced friendly against Vissel Kobe in Tokyo on June 6, giving Barca's famous midfield trio a fitting send-off with Iniesta still a regular player for the Japanese side, and Xavi the current head coach of Barcelona.
As well as his honours with Barca, Busquets also won 143 caps with Spain and lifted both the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championships with his country.
He is likely to sign off with another domestic trophy with Barcelona. Xavi's side are 13 points clear at the top of LaLiga and will secure the league title with victory at Espanyol on Sunday.