BARCELONA (Reuters): Barcelona defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets will leave the club at the end of this season after spending 18 years with the Catalan outfit, the team said on Wednesday.
Busquets, 34, began his youth career at Barcelona in 2005 before making his first-team debut in 2008. The former Spain international served as the club captain for the last two seasons, having become an integral part of the team over the years.
He helped Barcelona win eight LaLiga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles, three Champions League trophies and three Club World Cups. “It has been an honour and a source of pride to have been able to wear this badge but everything must come to an end,” Busquets said on Instagram on Wednesday.
Busquets, who retired from international duty last year, has made more than 700 appearances for Barcelona and holds the record for playing in more El Clasicos than any other player with 48 appearances against Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid.
He could add another league title to his achievements this season, with Barcelona leading the points table by 13 points with five games remaining.
A report on Spanish TV show El Chiringuito de Jugones said that Busquets has accepted an offer by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal along with Lionel Messi. Messi’s father has said the Argentine has not “signed or agreed” a deal.