This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Barcelona thumped Sevilla 4-0 on Sunday but one player was surprisingly excluded from the starting lineup, and it just might suggest his time as one of the Catalans’ key men is slowly coming to an end.
On the chalkboard
Sergio Busquets has been a key player at Barcelona ever since he was promoted to the senior team back in the summer of 2008.
A La Masia product through and through, the Octopus of Badia represented the true values of the Catalan giants and year upon year, he featured in all of their major moments.
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After all, the 31-year-old already has 544 appearances for the club, winning 31 senior trophies, and while he certainly has more fuel in the tank, there are some early signs indicating that he might not have as big of a role in the future as he used to have.
The end of an era
Saying that Busquets’ career at Barcelona is at the very end would be a bit too much but we’re certainly getting into the latter stages of it, at the very least.
And sure, saying that about a 31-year-old player is not that big of a surprise but considering we’re talking about Busquets of all people, it does sound a bit strange.
But the proof is already here for everyone to see.
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Just the other night, the Spaniard was benched once again, his third omission from the starting lineup in the eight games that Barcelona have played so far in the 2019/20 La Liga season.
Not to mention that he remained on the bench for the entirety of their curtain-raiser against Athletic Bilbao and the clash against Granada. So far, he has tallied a total of 449 minutes in the opening eight games of the campaign while he had a total of 592 this time last season.
Furthermore, he was not once left on the bench in the 35 games played last season; he’s already been named among the substitutes twice this term.
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Maybe it was the arrivals of Frenkie de Jong and the emergence of Arthur Melo or maybe it’s just time catching up with the 31-year-old midfielder, but it seems that he is bound to enjoy a much smaller role in the squad this season.
It remains to be seen if that will be to Barca’s detriment or not.