New Spain manager Luis de la Fuente has confessed that he tried to convince Sergio Busquets to postpone his international retirement.
The Barcelona midfielder followed manager Luis Enrique in walking away from the national team in the aftermath of their elimination from the World Cup, with Busquets bringing an end to an illustrious international career that yielded 143 caps in 15 years.
De la Fuente was confirmed as the new Spain boss before Busquets lowered the curtain, and he has since admitted that he tried to convince the 34-year-old to hang around for a little while longer.
“I had the privilege of receiving a call yesterday in which he informed me that he had made that decision. I tried to convince him, but he is a man with clear ideas and he had chosen the decision. I could only respect him,” he said.
“I want to acknowledge the extremely important role, the legacy that Busquets has left in Spanish football. It’s a shame that he already wants to close the stage internationally.
“That’s how I conveyed it to him, but I fully respect his decision and support it. He’s one of the most important players of Spanish football, for what he has achieved on the field and for his dominance.”
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Busquets posted a lengthy farewell message to Spain after confirming his decision, wishing the best of luck to De la Fuente as he completes his ascension through the national team ranks.
“I can only wish my teammates and the new coach Luis de la Fuente all the luck in the world,” he said. “Now, I will be one more fan. I will enjoy and support our team unconditionally.”
Former Alaves manager De la Fuente joined the Spain setup in 2013 as the Under-19 manager and has since worked with the Under-18 and Under-21 teams, and he even had a brief stint in charge of the senior side in 2021 when he filled in for Enrique during a Covid-enforced absence.