‘Unforgettable journey’: Busquets to leave Barca after 18 years

The Barcelona legend has won 31 trophies with the club, including three Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues.

Sergio Busquets says he will end his “unforgettable journey” of nearly two decades with Barcelona at the end of the season, bringing an illustrious era at the club to an end.

Busquets, whose contract ends in June, announced his decision with a video released on social media on Wednesday.

“It hasn’t been an easy decision but the time has come,” the 34-year-old Busquets said. “It has been an honor, a dream, and a reason for pride to have been able to wear this badge.”

Busquets arrived in Barcelona in 2005 and made it to a B team coached by Pep Guardiola after two seasons with the under-19s. He helped the B team gain promotion and eventually made his first-team debut in 2008.

He has played 718 matches for Barcelona, putting him third all-time behind Xavi and record-holder Lionel Messi. Busquets has won 31 titles with the Catalan club, including three Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues.

He is about to finish his career with another league title as Barcelona holds a 13-point advantage at the top with five games remaining.

One of the best defensive midfielders Barcelona has had, Busquets has scored 18 goals and had 40 assists.

He has been team captain for the last two seasons and was among the veterans who chose to accept a cut in their salaries during the club’s recent financial struggles.

Busquets is also the player with the most appearances in “Clasicos” between Barcelona and Real Madrid, on 48.

“It has been an unforgettable journey Since I was a child coming to the matches or watching them on TV, I always dreamed of playing with this shirt and at this stadium, and reality has exceeded all my dreams,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have believed you if you had told me when I arrived as a youth player that I would play 15 seasons at the best club in the world, the club of my life.”

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez, who played with Busquets in the team’s midfield for several years, wanted the midfielder to stay through next season but said the decision was up to him.

Barcelona’s last match will be at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on June 4.

Busquets did not say where he might go next, with Spanish reports suggesting he may move to a team in Saudi Arabia.

He won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 and the European Championship in 2012, and was a key fixture in the national team for nearly 15 years until he retired from international duty in December.

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