"He was the best player in the team for years but people just don't notice him, don't notice what he does. But you ask anyone at Real Madrid over the years and they will tell you he was the best player at Madrid over the years. We all knew, the players all knew he was the most important". That quote by Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro about his former team mate Claude Makelele shows huge respect and appreciation for work that largely goes unnoticed in football - "The quiet operator"
So what is a quiet operator and who is a good modern example of a man flourishing in this role? The quiet operator is that player key in transition from defense to attack, the man who sits in the midfield and break up play to begin attacks. There is no better example of a man performing this role to perfection in the modern era than current Barcelona midfield genius Sergio Busquets .
Much like a safety officer in a nuclear power plant Busquets role or "The quiet operator role" is not appreciated until things go wrong. Barcelona's statistics with and without Busquets in the team go a long way in helping to explain that statement. Let's not bore you with statistics though and let's get straight into a look at what Busquets brings to Barcelona and why he is such an important player for the team.
Recently Luis Enrique (Current Barcelona manager) was quoted as saying "Sergio is the best midfielder in the world", a massive complement from his manager considering Enrique also witnesses the legendary Andres Iniesta on a daily basis at training/games.
Busquets recent omission from Fifa's Elite shortlist of twenty three players in contention for the Ballon Dor underlines how difficult it is to have your contribution noticed in the role he plays, particularly when you consider the 27 year old has recently won his second career treble as an integral part of an all conquering Barcelona team. With such high praise for Claude Makelele and the impact he has on the "Quite Operator role/Defensive midfielder" one can only imagine the praise Busquets would receive from fellow team teams. Similar to Makelele in terms of his ability to read the game Busquets does possess far greater passing ability and his height well and truly sets him apart in the role when compared to the aforementioned French man. (Amazing clip below of Busquets carrying out his unoticed yet invaluable work at the weekend)
"The Quite Operator Role" or the Claude Makelele role as football fans will know it best has been reimagined by Sergio Busquets. The modern take on the position requires the player to be equally as constructive as he is destructive as an emphasis on possession football takes over.
The references to the "Claude Makelele role" have all but come to an end, "The Quite Opperator" position is now rightfully becoming known as "The Sergio Busquets" role.