Sergio Busquets arrives at his appointment with AS with a smile. While doing the photo shoot, he debates with common sense about the function of social networks, which he hardly uses. He is seen to be comfortable talking about football and he cannot help but get excited when he remembers how bad he had those days when he was alone at home due to the positive COVD. He did not want to miss the European Championship and has been MVP in two games, restoring confidence to Luis Enrque, who waited for him without conditions and without doubts. ‘Busi’ is excited about making history with the National Team again. This is the captain of La Roja.
How do you rate the European Championship in Spain? Is the objective achieved with reaching the semifinals?
We have gone from less to more in terms of results, but the idea of the game has been quite linear. There have been games in which we have been a bit more brilliant and the goals have entered and in others it has cost us a little more. But the line and the work of the National Team has always been the same, to dominate the game, have the ball, recover it as quickly as possible, press like a real team. And know what we wanted in attack. I am happy with everyone’s work and with how it is going and with great enthusiasm to face the semifinal match and hopefully it will not be the last.
Spain has only won one game in 90 minutes, does it have room for improvement?
Where the parties are decided is in the areas. We have an idea that we want to carry out in games and we believe that this idea ensures that we have more influence in the areas, in attack and defense. There have been games that we have lacked that, in attack to have that bit of luck and effectiveness and in defense to be a little more forceful and a little more luck, because the goal of Switzerland is a little bad luck that Laporte goes to the crossroads and crashes with Pau. You have to try to control these things so that they don’t happen.
What do you eat to be so good? He is having a fantastic European Championship, when people thought Sergio was coming back, it turns out that he is coming back.
It will be the nutritionist who makes us good menus. I am very comfortable with my role within the team, with the system and the way I play. It benefits me to have the ball a lot, to get a high rhythm from the whole team in pressure to recover it as soon as possible and not to defend for long. When you are in a comfortable team, with a comfortable system, with everything well worked and you can get the best of you because that makes you stronger and makes you see your best version. There are games in which you are better, in others not so much, but in general we are on a very good line.
Passing knockout rounds receiving three goals or missing three penalties does not happen every day.
You have to be a solid and strong team in both areas. But we are doing things much better and we deserve to pass because we are better than the rivals and that is the line. I think details need to be polished, but the attitude, the idea, the desire and the enthusiasm of this team are above all that and we are going to fight to be in the final.
When it is not possible to steal up in the pressure is when the team suffers, in the defensive transitions. How can this weakness be corrected?
The perfect game defensively is almost impossible to do. The more focused you are, the better positioned and the more the team accompanies because the more options you have to defend well. The rivals also play, they have quality. Switzerland had a very peculiar system, although they did not have great figures, they were a very powerful and complicated team and they showed it. Our intention is that they do not make us transitions, but if they do we have to return as quickly as possible and behave as a block. You are seeing a National Team in which everyone works a lot, the forwards the first to work in defense and that is appreciated and is one of the strengths of this team.
It is prevailing in this Eurocopa 1-4-3-3, the Italians also develop it for the semifinal. Where are Italy’s weaknesses?
They are different games, with two teams with a very marked system and both like to have the ball. It will be very important to maintain our defensive rhythm which is higher than that of most of the teams in this European Championship. At a global level we are the team that behaves the most as such, we are going to try to steal and press up so that the opponent has less the ball.
Can Italy dispute possession of the ball against Spain?
They are going to want the ball and they are capable of it because they have very good players to have the ball like Jorginho, Verratti or Insigne. They are very good players who are very comfortable with the ball, but we are going to try to prevent it from being like that and impose ourselves in that sense.
In Italy there are Bonucci and Chiellini, veteran players, and in Spain it seems that we want to get rid of the veterans, that we do not treat them with respect.
It is the philosophy and culture of each country. We are very passionate, we are to be at one point above everything and at another below and you have to know how to carry it, nothing happens. These are things that happen in the world of sports in general and in soccer specifically, and you have to know how to handle it. Veterans have many years of experience.
But why does Italy have two centrals that are almost 40 years old?
Because they will be very good, because they are doing well, because the coach trusts them and the teammates as well and they are giving a very good level.
He thrilled the whole country with his excitement after reappearing against Slovakia, each match of this Eurocup is a prize after how bad it was with the positive for COVID.
It was the situation that I had to live. It can be said that I was better or worse like any professional, but my commitment has always been the maximum. I have been coming to the first team for all the years, I have been in all the concentrations, I have not missed a single game and I have been with the National Team for what I was needed. Those ten days were hard because I wanted to experience a European Championship with the group that exists and knowing that it may be my last European Championship makes me especially excited. After having such a bad time, what you have accumulated comes out of you. I don’t like to go public, but I couldn’t help it.
Are you planning to leave the National Team?
You have to think about when to finish your cycle. What I have in mind is that this will be the last European Championship and then it depends. You have to go step by step, I am no longer 20 years old. I feel very well, I am very comfortable in the group. The coach always says that age does not matter, that as long as you are well he will have those who are better and those who make merit, later it will be seen. At the moment I’m thinking about the semi-final with Italy, which is the important thing, then there’s the Nations League in October and we’ll see. A year can be very long, I am very excited, but I am also responsible and I want the best for myself and for everyone.
You have won everything with Spain and you have also experienced the disappointment of leaving the World Cups and Euro Cups soon, did you think you would be in a semifinal with the National Team again?
It is very difficult to reach the semi-finals. Football has evolved a lot and it is difficult to win any game because all the teams are very hard-working, they have a very high level of scouting, of staff, individually the players have given a plus in all aspects, mental, physical, nutritional … But I knew that Luis Enrique’s work at this stage was very good. It is very difficult to see a top coach in a National Team because normally such coaches are with a team during the day. We are lucky and privileged to have Luis Enrique here. He is developing his idea, with his work group, with players that he believes in, with a very great ambition and that is reflected on the field. What gives us to win the Eurocup and deserve it, well spectacular and very grateful and happy to be able to live it. And if not, this is the line to follow because it is what we will be able to do is close to getting things. At the moment, we are in the semifinals wanting to continue fighting and dreaming of bigger things.
“If I were to be born again, I would want to be Busquets”, Del Bosque said of you, is it the most beautiful compliment they have given you?
I am lucky that in the world of football my colleagues and coaches value me very much and I am very grateful. Del Bosque’s words were very important to me because of the situation and the moment, he was very young, the most of the National Team in that 2010 World Cup. He defended a player like that and I am very grateful.
Who does Xavi say about the Madrid environment?
I do not know. I have not been very attentive to everything that has been said. I don’t know in what context he said it.
It seemed that it was to throw a cape on Luis Enrique, but it sounded strange the day before Spain played it in a quarter-final.
Sure it was not his intention to bother, but you ask him that, surely he is available to everyone.
A weight was lifted when Oyarzabal scored the fifth and decisive penalty.
Luckily we went through, I took a weight off my shoulders. We were very convinced that we were going to do very well in the shoot, we trusted Unai and the pitchers, although it is true that we missed two. I did not throw it wrong, but adjusting it so much it went to the post.
The other who missed the penalty was Rodri, who is sometimes criticized for praising Busquets and vice versa, what do you think?
I think that is wrong. As with veterans, it happens with players of the same position. Rodri is a piece of player who has grown a lot and who is going to grow even more because he is in a top club, with a top coach and his conditions are top. The coach decides who plays and sometimes I play and sometimes he. The important thing is the team. That Rodri is discussed to praise me seems wrong to me. We both fight for the same thing and we want the good of the group, each one with its own characteristics, different from the others, but we are very good players.
Is Sergio Ramos in contact with you from outside, from captain to captain, is he aware of the National Team?
Sure. On Instagram he has already posted that he is watching the games and he surely wants the best for those of us who have been his teammates. We are very grateful to all the footballers who are supporting us, for them, because they are also part of this, not only Sergio, but also all those who have been on this path and in the end they have not been able to be because the list is 23, in this case 24. The great work and we hope that it remains until Sunday, it is also partly thanks to them and we have them very present.
They have already made the fans fall in love again, send them a message.
We are going to continue in the same vein as these games, leaving everything on the pitch and trying to be better than the rivals with that team commitment, with that enthusiasm and with the desire to reach the final and then fight to get it. We feel the support of the people, although due to the circumstances they cannot accompany us as they would like. We feel the fans behind us and they are sure to be proud of us and everything will turn out fine.