Xavi backs ‘key’ Busquets amid Barcelona questions over future ahead of ‘momentous’ World Cup run-in

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Sergio Busquets is “key” for Barcelona, says Xavi, even as speculation over his long-term place at the club rumbles on.

Barcelona boss Xavi has played down concerns over the future of captain Sergio Busquets, insisting the Spain international remains “key” to his plans at the club.

A difficult start to the season for the 34-year-old, including a red card against Rayo Vallecano, has appeared to fuel further suggestions that this campaign could be his last at Camp Nou.

With Barca likely to have to make some serious cuts in their financial woes, the Spain captain could be one of the key men to leave next year.

But the defensive midfielder has publicly played down a definitive answer to his future and ahead of his side’s clash with Mallorca Xavi reiterated that no decision had yet been made.

“Busquets has said publicly that he has not decided on anything,” he said. “It will be decided at the end of the season and he continues to be key for me.”

With domestic and European interests on the pitch, Barca are set to enter a major fixture overload period with a dozen games lined up in the month and a half before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Several of Xavi’s fellow coaches across the continent have expressed their displeasure at the intense calendar, but he is instead focused on the need to pick up as many points as possible at home and abroad.

“We have 12 games until the World Cup break,” he added. “It’s an important part of the season. All the games will be very important.”

“Tomorrow we have to win and show our character. We have to show our strengths.”

Barca will go into an enforced break this term thanks to the winter World Cup in Qatar midway through the season, adding another tough dimension to an already grueling campaign.

With FIFA recently considering plans to possibly expand the tournament to be held every two years, Xavi feels there should be no further restructuring or movement from its traditional off-season berth.

“FIFA plans to hold the World Cup every two years,” he added. “Now we have the World Cup in Qatar in the winter.

“I think it would be better if the tournament was organized in a separate time. Then they will allocate the next time to the clubs.”

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