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Barcelona

Barça: Busquets accepts contest to retain first-team place

Restored to Barcelona's starting XI for the Camp Nou clash with Villarreal, the Spain international knows he has to work hard to stay there.

Busquets content to battle for Barcelona starting berth

Sergio Busquets accepts he will have to fight to keep his place in Barcelona's midfield after returning to the starting side for Tuesday's win over Villarreal.

First-half goals from Antoine Griezmann and Arthur secured the champions a 2-1 victory and eased the pressure on Ernesto Valverde.

The Barça boss recalled experienced Spain international Busquets for the Camp Nou encounter after leaving him out of the team that suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Granada at the weekend.

The 31-year-old also watched from the bench when Barça lost their LaLiga opener against Athletic Bilbao and knows his spot in the XI is no longer guaranteed.

"I'm fine," Busquets told Catalan media. "There's a lot of competition in the centre of the pitch and there are players who are still out.

"The competition is good because it forces us to improve our level. I'm going to work hard to earn a place."

Busquets returned to the XI alongside goal-scorer Arthur but the third of Valverde's three changes backfired as an adductor injury ended Lionel Messi's involvement at half-time.

The Barça captain was making his first start of the season after overcoming a calf problem.

Busquets said: "It's inconvenient because he's our best player, the best in the world.

"I hope it's as minor as possible and that he returns to the team as soon as possible."

LaLiga champions Barça are back in action away to Getafe on Saturday, ahead of a Champions League home match against Inter.