Busquets: Title joy doubled this year
Sergio Busquets says Barcelona's players and fans will enjoy this season's title win even more than usual because of all the challenges they have faced during the campaign.
Barca are poised to seal a fourth championship in five seasons this week, if Madrid drop points against either Malaga at home on Wednesday or at Espanyol on Saturday, or if they themselves win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday evening.
The midfielder told reporters after training at Barca's Ciutat Esportiva on Wednesday morning that celebrations of this year's title would be particularly sweet given the illnesses suffered by coach Tito Vilanova and defender Eric Abidal.
"A fourth La Liga title in five years will be spectacular," Busquets said. "To win a league is always a dream and even more in a league this difficult.
"This Liga has even more important because of the problems we lived through with Tito and Abidal, it was difficult. The joy is doubled. All 'cules' are super proud of this team, they realise the value of this title."
Busquets missed the 3-0 Champions League semi-final second-leg defeat to Bayern Munich last week with a hernia problem. The pivote admitted he had played on and off with the injury for over three months, but had no plans for an operation to solve the problem once the season ended.
"The injury is getting better," he said. "I did not think about having an operation, and even less now as I feel better. It is a very tricky injury, some days it feels better than others. It began at the end of January or early February, it came from an adductor muscle strain. I have not thought about not going to the Confederations Cup."
Busquets said he paid little heed to speculation that team-mate Carles Puyol was set to leave for AC Milan this summer [rumours denied by Puyol on Twitter], but realised the Barca team would evolve over time.
"He has already denied the story and I hope he stays here for many more years," he said. "I cannot imagine today a Barca without Puyol and [goalkeeper Victor] Valdes, but it is going to happen. Years pass and everything changes.
This did not mean he himself was considering leaving, Busquets clarified, adding: "I see myself here in the present and the future. I have not intention of moving."
Busquets, who played in Barcelona's Champions League final wins over Manchester United in 2009 and 2011, said departing United boss Sir Alex Ferguson would always be remembered throughout the footballing world.
"A historic coach is leaving, who has been everything in the world of football and will always be remembered," the Catalan midfielder said. "He is an example for everyone."
The name of Jose Mourinho, rumoured to be under consideration to replace Ferguson at Old Trafford, also arose at the press conference when reporters asked Busquets what he thought of Mourinho telling Andres Iniesta on Tuesday that the Barca midfielder had no right to comment on recent treatment of Iker Casillas at the Estadio Bernabeu.
"I did not know Mourinho was the only one allowed to talk about everything," was the ironic reply.