Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, has admitted it would be difficult to replace Sergio Busquets against Athletic Bilbao this weekend, hailing the midfielder as “the best in the world” at what he does.
Busquets, 29, broke a bone in his foot in the Champions League win against Chelsea on Wednesday and will be sidelined for the next three weeks.
He is one of five players missing for Athletic’s visit to Camp Nou on Sunday. Thomas Vermaelen, Nelson Semedo and Denis Suarez are also out due to injury and Luis Suarez is suspended.
Valverde has called up the Barca midfielder, Carles Alena, who he said has a “very big future” at the club.
“It’s always bad to lose players of [Busquets’] calibre.
“Busquets is fundamental for the team. He is the best player in the world in his position, so it’s not easy to replace him, but there are alternatives — [Ivan] Rakitic has played that role very well.
“Rakitic is having an extraordinary season. Maybe his role isn’t as attacking as it was at Sevilla, but players do move around. They don’t always stay in the same position. Rakitic is a very important player for us,” Valverde told a press conference on Saturday.