Xavi: the man, the legend
When it is his time to hang up the studs and say goodbye to the game he has helped alter immeasurably maybe then we will fully be able to appreciate the greatness of Xavi Hernandez.
Yet another product of that famed Barcelona youth academy, Xavi has been a one team man his whole life and now, at the age of 32, it appears he will remain there until he decides to call it quits. What a phenomenal career, though.
Six La Liga titles, two Copa Del Reys and a three time winner of the Champions League, and that’s not to mentions his success at international level, Xavi has done it and won it all. His impact on the beautiful game, though, goes far deeper than his trophy cabinet.
The perception of the modern day footballer is no longer so reliant on strength and pace but more on astute technique and being able to find space and make intelligent decisions when in possession of the ball.
Spain’s domination of the last three international tournaments have brought about this change and the Tika Taka style of quick passing and sustained possession is a something many teams and managers now strive for. Xavi’s uncanny ability to maintain possession and always pick the right pass have made a key component to not only Spain’s success but also the incredible success Barcelona have experienced in recent years.
Xavi’s ability and assuredness in midfield has allowed his team-mates to thrive around him. Believe you and me, Messi and Iniesta would not be the same players they are today if it were not for Xavi’s intelligent decision making and brilliant capacity to control a midfield with what appears to be such ease.
As Xavi has been such a loyal servant to Barcelona for so many years it is hard to see him going to any other club but as the he grows older and the legs get more and more tired he may find a great deal of satisfaction in mentoring a younger version of himself. Most likely that would be in Spain with Barcelona but there is a part of me that wishes he would choose to come to England and exert some of his footballing knowledge on a certain North London team.
No, I don’t mean you Spurs but Arsenal and Xavi would be a perfect fit.
For the time being, though, let’s enjoy the man’s swan song and we see one of the finest footballer’s career come to a close.