• Sergio Busquets anticipating a "great World Cup" at Qatar 2022
  • Spain and Barcelona midfielder talks youth development in Qatar and Spain
  • FIFA World Cup winner explains how former team-mate Xavi has given him a flavour of the country
When Sergio Busquets walked out onto the indoor football pitch at Aspire Academy this week, the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ winner was returning to the country for a second time after playing here for Spain against Uruguay in 2013. Since that 3-1 win over the South Americans in Doha, the midfielder says he has seen further rapid development towards the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East.
 
“We have very good impressions of Qatar, they are developing sports a lot, in particular football, and that is very positive,” Busquets told www.sc.qa. “I have great feedback from a former team-mate and great friend in Xavi. I had the opportunity to come here to play against Uruguay a few years ago. Now they have advanced even more, they are doing it with a lot of passion, preparing well, so I think it will be a great event.”
 
With former team-mate Xavi currently playing for Al Sadd Club in Doha, Busquets said he agreed with the former Barcelona captain’s assessment that Qatar could host the ‘greatest ever’ World Cup: “If someone understands football and mega events, it is Xavi. And if he says that it will be the greatest World Cup, it is for a reason. There are still some years remaining, but they are doing projects and planning in a very good way, always improving and it will for sure be a great World Cup.”
 
The midfielder, widely regarded as one of the finest products of FC Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy, also had some words of advice for youngsters - from Barcelona to Doha and beyond - attempting to make the breakthrough into first team action.
 
“It is difficult to be in the first team, the demands are incredibly high at every level, it depends on a lot of factors, not only whether players are coming through from the academy. It depends if they are given opportunities, that they work well, that the players have the level required, all of this has to come together, so I hope more players from La Masia can make the breakthrough.” 
 
Road to Russia
Julen Lopetegui's Spain currently occupy top spot in Group G of European World Cup qualifying, pipping second-placed Italy only on goal difference. With just one automatic berth at Russia 2018 up for grabs, the two giants are vying for top spot with just four games to go. “The change of coach for now is working very well for us. They are similar ideas, but at the same time with his touch and a different vision. We have the World Cup coming up, and we hope that the outcome will be positive. 
 
“First of all we have to qualify because we have a difficult group and are fighting with Italy to make it. Hopefully we can go through in first place, and once we are qualified, we will analyse everything. In terms of players, teams, we will be one of the favourites despite not playing well in the last two tournaments. In the end it will be the teams of almost always, Germany, Argentina, who can be in the fight for the title in Russia.”
 
Before signing off, the player who was a key member in bringing Spain their first ever World Cup said he would not rule out playing in the tournament in Qatar in 2022: “There are still five years left, I don’t know how I will be physically at that time, but it would definitely be something that I’d love to do. To play here in Qatar one day, like Xavi, is another option.”