There were celebrations in the Hernandez household this week as Xavi made his 700th first team appearance for Barcelona. Here we look at the man who has had all of Spain saying ‘Muchas gracias, Xavi!’
Xavi was born on 25th January 1980 in the Catalonian town of Terrassa. He showed promise from an early age and was snapped up by the world famous Barcelona academy.
From 1997 he started playing for Barcelona B, making 61 appearances for them and scoring four goals. He made his first team debut on 3rd October 1998 in a 3-1 win over Valencia – it was to form a pattern. When Xavi plays to his strengths, Barca inevitably win.
In a team of superstars, Xavi has shone for over 15 years. In his 700 Barcelona appearances he has scored 82 goals and made a phenomenal 180 assists. He is a tireless worker in midfield and a visionary passer. His quick feet and quicker brain are perfectly suited to the tiki-taka style that his team perfected. His partnership with Iniesta has been one of the greatest midfield couplings ever seen in world football.
Barcelona’s number 6 has reaped the rewards that his talent deserves. He has featured in the UEFA team of the year on five occasions and has collected 25 trophies, already a Spanish all time record and with the real possibility of more to come.
Internationally Xavi has collected 130 caps for Spain, collecting 13 goals. His displays in the national colours have even earned the grudging respect of (some) Real Madrid fans. He has also represented proudly Catalonia on ten occasions.
Xavi has been hailed by current Russia coach Fabio Capello as ‘the best midfielder of the decade’. He will be thirty four next week, and his appearances are becoming more limited as players such as Cesc Fabregas make their claim to be the next generation of Camp Nou superstars, but it is doubtful that we will ever see the likes of Xavi Hernandez again.