El Clasico: Busquets hails Casemiro best midfield pivot

Elclasico: Busquets hails Casemiro best midfield pivot

Barcelona midfield general Sergio Busquets has hailed his Real Madrid counterpart Casemiro as one of the best around in their position.

The Catalan club are in Europa League action on Thursday, but attention are already turning to Sunday’s El Clasico clash against Real Madrid and at his press conference on Tuesday, Busquets was naturally asked about the weekend’s game as well as the midweek one.

“If [Casemiro] isn’t the best, he’s up there. You just have to watch his games, look at his record or what he’s done,” said Busquets.

“In this position we do get overlooked because, ultimately, people focus on goals, shots, assists. We have a less obvious role but one that’s much more important, which is being in the middle of the team, controlling everything.

“I admire him. I like all good players. Real Madrid has a lot, but I wouldn’t take any of them, I’d stick with my teammates, they’re the ones I’m going to play and live with. But as a football lover, I can appreciate the play of other players and teams.”

Los Blancos came out on top in the last meeting between the two sides, although it did take extra time to separate them in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final in Riyadh back in January.

Busquets said things the Blaugrana are in a better place this time, now that they have had more time to work under Xavi, something reflected in their improved standing in the league.

“The Supercopa maybe came a bit early for us,” said Busquets.

“We had players injured, Ferran [Torres] had just arrived, we didn’t have Aubamayang.

“I think as a team we’re better now, I don’t know about Madrid but I’m sure they’ll be on a high after coming out on top of a great knockout tie [against PSG]. It will be a good game.”

The midfielder says Xavi has already changed a lot and the players are gradually taking his ideas on board.

“Everything is very different. Our self-esteem, mood, confidence…a new coach came in and made various changes with his philosophy, which was the one we’d had years ago,” said Busquets.

“For those of us who were here back then, it’s been great, and the newer members are gradually getting it.

“We’re a much more complete team, we do a lot of things well and ultimately we’re a better team. Obviously we’ve still got a way to go but we’re on the right path.”