Spain and Barcelona midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez has confirmed his intention to retire at the end of this season and move into coaching.
Xavi Hernandez left Barcelona after their treble-winning 2014-15 season and joined Al Sadd playing in the Qatar Stars League. Initially, Xavi had plans to retire at the end of the last season, but surprisingly he postponed his retirement plans and signed a two-year contract. Now finally, he has decided to pull the curtains on his glorious football career and he hopes to sign off by helping Al Sadd to Emir Cup glory.
Xavi said: “Over the coming four weeks, I will be lacing my boots for the last games of an unforgettable career, which has spanned over 21 years and taken me to every corner of the world. It has been a fantastic end to my playing career here in Qatar. Winning the Qatar Stars League this month was the title that was missing. Since I arrived here we have won everything and only the league was missing, so I’m very happy. As a sportsperson, you never get tired of winning. Once you have won a title you always want to win more.”
Xavi is a product of Barcelona’s fabled La Masia academy. He has won everything that a football player dreams of! He has won eight LaLiga titles, four Champions Leagues and a trio of Copas del Rey during a glittering era for the Catalan club. Xavi was voted “UEFA Champions League Best Midfielder” for his contribution during Barcelona’s victorious 2008-09 Champions League campaign. In 2010, Xavi was one of the three finalists for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, alongside Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. However, he finished third on the vote, behind Messi and Iniesta but he did defeat Messi to win Player of the Year award from World Soccer Magazine. Last month, Xavi has also won the Qatar Stars League with Al Sadd.
Xavi also played a pivotal role in Spain’s 2010 World Cup win – a moment of glory that came in between their successes at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. He was named Euro 2008’s Player of the Tournament after Spain defeated Germany 1–0 in the final. Besides being dominant in the midfield, Xavi was quick with his metronomic passing and his reading of the game was pivotal to Spain’s success.
In 2010, Spain eventually won their maiden FIFA World Cup and Xavi’s contribution in this venture could be estimated by the fact that he was the one who provided the most number of accurate passes, 599 with a passing success rate of 91%, and also to crossed the ball inside the 18-yard box more than any other player in the tournament.
Xavi also played for Spain during the Euro 2012, which Spain won by defeating Italy 4–0 in the finals. With Xavi providing two assists in the final, he became the first player to register assists in two European Championship finals.
Xavi is one of the classiest players to grace the Camp Nou pitch and play for the Spanish national team. Let’s have a look at his career in numbers:
- 767 – Xavi holds the Barcelona appearance record, with only current captain Lionel Messi (682) and Andres Iniesta (674) within 100 matches of his 767 games for the club.
- 9 – Only nine players in LaLiga history have played more than 500 times in the competition. Xavi has played 505 LaLiga games.
- 13 – Xavi tasted defeat to Barcelona’s Clasico rivals Real Madrid on 13 occasions, playing in the fixture an incredible 42 times. He scored five goals against the Los Blancos.
- 25 – His record in the Catalan derby against Espanyol was brilliant. Xavi – who scored six goals in the fixture – featured in it 36 times and was victorious in 25.
- 133 – World Cup winner Xavi played 133 times for Spain, making him one of 13 men to have reached a century of caps for the country. Only his former international team-mates Sergio Ramos (162) and Iker Casillas (167) have made more appearances for Spain than him.
- 1,000 – Xavi is not a prolific goalscoring midfielder, but he recorded the 1,000th goal in the history of the Spanish national team. It came when they beat Northern Ireland 3-2 in a European Championship qualifier in September 2006.
Xavi now wants to have a coaching career. He said: “You will see that my coaching philosophy reflects the style that we were able to develop over many years through the influence of Johan Cruyff, La Masia and the Barcelona way of playing football. I love to see teams taking the initiative on the pitch, playing attacking football and going back to the essence of what we all love about this game since our childhood days; having possession of the football.
I have been privileged to achieve everything that I was able to do over the past two decades.”
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