On Friday, Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets confirmed what had been expected following La Roja’s elimination from the FIFA World Cup. The 34-year-old announced that he would be retiring from international football, bringing an end to an exceptional career with the Spanish team.
The retirement comes days after La Roja replaced Luis Enrique as manager, with Luis de la Fuente taking over from the former Barcelona boss at the helm of the national team.
Now, speaking at a media appearance, de la Fuente confirmed that he tried to convince Busquets against retiring, stating that he would have offered a lot to the team. But, he insisted that he respects the 34-year-old’s decision.
“I had the privilege of receiving a call yesterday informing me that he had made this decision. I tried to convince him, but he is a man of clear ideas and had already decided. I could only respect him,” explained de la Fuente, as quoted by SPORT.
De la Fuente then went on to lavish huge praise on Busquets and the legacy he had left behind with the Spanish national team, as he said:
I want to recognize the very important role, the legacy that Busquets has left in Spanish football. It is a shame that at the international level he wants to close the stage. I told him so, but I fully respect his decision and support it.
“He is one of the most important players in Spanish soccer, because of what he has achieved on the pitch and for his mastery off it.”
As for the possible replacement for Busquets, something that continues to trouble Barcelona, de la Fuente named Manchester City’s Rodri as an option, while also insisting that he will give chances to other players to take over from the veteran at the international level.
“It is a very sensitive loss, but soccer continues and we will have to think about future replacements, there are very good ones. Although they will have a long way to go to reach the level of what Busquets has achieved,” he said.
There are players who have already occupied that position, such as Rodri, but we are following other players and there are sure to be others who will have their chance. There is still time until March to see the evolution of the players,” de la Fuente added.