Without Busquets, Barcelona and Spain could never have achieved what we have achieved - Xavi
It is arguably the most important position in football. It's been referred to as the holder, defensive midfielder, deep-lying playmaker, even 'the Makelele'. In Argentina they call it the number 5, while in Portugal it's trinco or pivot.
For most coaches around the world it's the 'number 6' role and without one, the high quality teams struggle to control a game.
This player can sometimes go under-appreciated by fans because he is rarely the one who scores the crucial goal or makes the last ditch tackle.
The no. 6 has vitally important functions. When in possession he must link the defensive line with the midfield and know when to transfer the ball from back to front and side to side.
He can manage the pace of game, speeding it up by playing forward or slowing it down by going sideways. If his positioning, movement, decision making and passing are not all of high quality this becomes extremely difficult.
The player also has to be accomplished defensively; it’s typically the The no. 6 who has the crucial role of anticipating and pushing up at the right moment to stop an opponent’s vertical pass. If he misses the opponent can attack freely through the middle.
The number 6 has to be completely focused when his team is in attack, reacting to every situation and covering holes left by players who’ve pushed forward.
Every other position in football has a specific role, but the The no. 6 is so varied and vital, he has to be the best thinker on the pitch.
Every great team in world football today has a great The no. 6 it can count on.
Juventus has Andrea Pirlo, Real Madrid has Xabi Alonso, Manchester City spent $25 million on Javi Garcia and Bayern Munich paid double that for Javi Martinez.
It’s no different in the A-League.
Erik Paartalu is a key figure for Brisbane Roar, while I would argue that Adelaide’s successful start to the season has been in part due to Cameron Watson playing as the The no. 6.
Having never seen him play in the position I was very impressed when I watched Watson from the stands at Hindmarsh Stadium in the AFC Champions League quarter-final against Bunyodkor.
Watson’s training at the AIS, FC Porto and VVV Venlo was evident in his positioning, decision making and passing ability that helped Adelaide build from the back and relieve the pressure when Bunyodkor pressed high.
Yet the greatest of all the current no. 6s wears number 16 for Barcelona - Sergio Busquets. Former Barca boss Josep Guardiola and Spain coach Vicente have both said that if they were reincarnated they would like to come back as Busquets.
The appreciation for 24 year-old from within the Barca camp knows no bounds; the club even posted a video on YouTube highlighting his ability.
One of the things I enjoy most about watching Busquets are his subtle but highly effective touches in the middle of a crowded midfield.
It’s doubtful a player in this position is likely to win a Ballon d’Or or be the face of a video game but as Xavi points out, without a highly skilled number 6, success would be much more difficult.
Meet Our Bloggers
Fondly known as 'Mr Football', Les has been directly involved in all
the major events covered by SBS Sport, including five World Cup
football tournaments. Follow @lesmurraysbs on Twitter.
As SBS’s chief football analyst, Craig provides expert opinion and unrivalled insight. He has also represented the Socceroos and played abroad. Follow @Craig_Foster on Twitter.
Considered one of Australia's most gifted players, Ned Zelic represented the Socceroos 34 times over a decorated career that spanned Europe, Asia and the United Kingdom. Follow @NedZelic on Twitter.
After years playing abroad and a 20-goal career for the Socceroos, David turned his hand to football punditry and is a beach football fanatic. Follow @zdrila on Twitter.
Scott’s passion and knowledge of Asian football has consolidated his reputation as Australia’s foremost Asian football expert.
Vitor commentates for SBS and works as a presenter for The World Game. His passion for European football resonates through his blogs. Follow @Vitor_TWG on Twitter.
Philip Micallef is a football writer with almost 40 years of experience. He has worked for News Limited and now SBS. He is a long-time follower of AC Milan.
The Circus is The World Game's regular look at the beautiful game from left field. So join us every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for something a little more light-hearted than the norm.
British-born Tim works as a journalist and has lived in Brazil since 1994 and provides unrivalled knowledge of South American football.
Hailing from Amsterdam, Ajax tragic Cornell vander Heyden has over 12 years of journalism experience and cites covering the 2006 World Cup among his career highlights. Follow @dvanda101 on Twitter.