Sergio Busquets hungry for even more games

Sergio Busquets has looked back on 300 appearances for Barça / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
“When I came to Barça I never imagined things would go so well” said the midfielder after his 300th appearance. “It’s been everything I ever dreamed of and more”

Barça midfielder Sergio Busquets made it to 300 official appearances for the first team on Sunday evening. In six years he has won every major title available. Describing how it feels, he said “when I came here I never imagined it would go so well, I’m very happy, and hungry to play even more games. It’s been everything I ever dreamed of and more”.

Thinking back to his debut, he remembers that “I was very young and had high hopes. I really wanted to make the most of the chance that Pep gave me, and to enjoy sharing a dressing room with the kind of players who not long before then, I had only ever seen on television. I think I’m the same player that I was six years ago, but I’m more experienced now. Playing so many games means you get to know everything that happens not just on the pitch, but off it as well”.[[CITA_1]]
This season, Busquets has been wearing the number five shirt, which he inherited from its previous incumbent, Carles Puyol. “I had a chat with Carles and it was something very important for me” he explains. “It was an honour for a team-mate like him to say that he wanted me to take the number five from him. Obviously it made me very proud”.

Now that Puyol has left, Busquets has become the team’s fourth captain. “Whether you like it or not, that means you have to take on new responsibilities” he says. “You have to be that bit more implicated, and I’m really happy about that”.[[CITA_2]]
Leo Messi was also promoted to a captaincy role, and Busquets is thrilled to be playing in the same team as such an amazing player. “Messi is the best player in history” he claims. I wasn’t around 50 or 100 years ago, but I think he’s the best because of the things he does and the records he’s breaking almost every day. It’s impossible to find anyone else with a talent like his.”

After Sunday’s derby win, that’s seven consecutive victories for FCB, and Busquets is pleased that the season seems to be going so well. “Luis Enrique is a coach who knows what he wants and who knows the club” says Sergio. “We’re adapting to him well. I think the team’s approaching full maturity under him. We are more solid and that makes it harder for our opponents. Hopefully we’ll be up there fighting for titles”.[[CITA_3]]
He ended with words of praise for Xavi Hérnandez and Mascherano. He described the latter as “one of the best players in his position. He’s a very complete footballer and gives all he has for the team. It’s an honour to be in the same squad as him and I’ve learned a lot from him.” And on the Barça first captain, Busquets commented that “he’s one of the best team-mates I’ve ever had. He’s very professional. He is very implicated with the team and he always helps us. He’s very positive.”

It was an honour to inherit the number five shirt from Carles Puyol
It’s impossible to find anyone else with a talent like Messi’s
Xavi is one of the best team-mates I’ve ever had

Leo Messi: Three hat-tricks in four games

Leo Messi has scored an amazing three hat-tricks in four games / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
A collection of trivia from the 5-1 win over Espanyol in Sunday’s derby

  • The first of the three goals scored by Leo Messi was his 400th in a Barça shirt, friendly games included. Two further goals took his overall total up to 402.

  • The Argentinian has now scored 12 goals in derbies against Espanyol, thus surpassing the previous record holder César.

  • Messi has hit on an amazing run of form, scoring three hat-tricks in the last four games. Espanyol, APOEL and Sevilla were the victims.

  • Messi is now Barça’s top goalscorer in La Liga with 13 goals, two more than the previous leader, Neymar.

  • Barça’s win over Espanyol was their seventh in a row. In Liga, Champions League and Cup games, they have beaten Ajax, Almeria, Sevilla, APOEL, Valencia, Huesca and now their city rivals.

  • Xavi Hernández was appearing in his 30th derby. Since his first taste of the fixture in 1998/99 he has experienced 20 wins, eight draws and just two defeats.

  • Sergio Busquets was playing his 300th game for the FCB first team. He is the fifth player in the current squad to have reached that figure.

  • Luis Enrique only made one change with respect to the team he picked at Mestalla. Ivan Rakitic took the place of Jérémy Mathieu, meaning that Javier Mascherano dropped back into defence.

  • Pedro Rodríguez got his first league goal of the season, although he did score midweek in the cup game with Huesca.

  • Luis Enrique has yet to lose a derby against Sergio González. As players they met seven times, with Barça winning four and the other three games ending in draws. This was their first derby encounter as managers.

Pedro talks about derby and the near future

Pedro Rodríguez sat down to talk with 'El Marcador' / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Barça forward sits down to discuss his team and what they need to do as the year winds down

He says he’s focused on scoring and making the most of his minutes when he plays

Barça’s 5-1 derby win over Espanyol at Camp Nou, complete with a Leo Messi hat trick and goals from Gerard Piqué and Pedro Rodríguez, did not disappoint the fans.

Afterwards, Pedro visited ‘El Marcador’ on Barça TV: “We’re confident after good games against Valencia, Espanyol, two tough rivals; this is how we have to close out the year.”

The forward wasn’t so lucky early on in the season, but he looks to be finding the goal with more ease. “Scoring is important but I really need to take advantage of whatever minutes I do get.”

Barça’s only objective from now until Christmas is to win football games: “Winning every game is fundamental. We play Paris, which is tough, but we also have the Spanish Cup.”[[CITA_1]]Pedro also spoke about Messi and his decisive role on the team: “Messi is always spectacular. With somebody like him who can change a game in an instant, you always have to keep that in mind out on the field.”

He also talked about his direct competition: “Going up against Suárez, Neymar and Messi is not easy but I take it in stride. I try to learn from them every day and then use that to help anybody I can. I’ve always had great teammates here at Barça and have always had to perform at a high level.”[[CITA_2]]In last Wednesday’s win at Huesca, Pedro scored a goal and then dedicated it to Martín Montoya. “People didn’t understand it, I did it because we get along well and like to joke around in the dressing room. Today I dedicated the goal to Jordi Alba because he made such a great pass,” he explained.

He concluded by talking about this week’s clash with PSG: “We know it’s going to be tough which is why we really need the crowd to get behind us.”

Winning every match is a fundamental objective
Scoring is big, but I really have to make the most of my opportunities