The Retirement of Xavi Hernández: A Referent in Soccer History
The time has come for one of the best soccer players in recent times to leave the soccer fields. Xavi Hernández, a symbol of Barcelona and referent of the Spanish national team (who won the World Cup in 2010), will be leaving the sport. Why will we remember him forever in the history of this sport?
In the first instance, it’s enough to recall the title he won during the World Cup in South Africa 2010 to understand why Xavi Hernández Creus will always be a legend in Spanish soccer. Even though he wasn’t the captain of the team, FIFA chose him as one of the 11 members of the dream team for that event. And some time later, he won over 100 international matches with his national team.
However, he’s also the pride of FC Barcelona. While playing for that team, he won 25 titles in 17 seasons. Xavi was also a fundamental player in the famous Barça team, under the leadership of Pep Guardiola. Many people consider this team to be the best one in history, or at least the most striking one.
The unique game style of Xavi Hernández
Xavi has been one of the best ball passers of recent times. His accurate location in the midfield facilitated passing the ball in his team.
Remaining true to the historical school of Johan Cruyff and his legacy in Catalan soccer, Xavi loves to use offensive plays and ball possession as central elements of any tactic.
While he’s not a defensive midfielder par excellence, he was always willing to cooperate in this facet of the game. This means he knew how to adapt perfectly to the demands of his coaches, who had the possibility of aligning many talented players simultaneously. A clear example of this is the amazing trio: Xavi, Busquets, and Iniesta.
Xavi debuted on August 18th, 1998. Throughout his career in the Barcelona team, he played 767 matches and scored 85 goals. This is an incredibly high number for a midfielder with his characteristics. Much of this was due to Xavi’s sublime way of shooting free kicks.
A winning man like no other
On top of his effective, yet stylish game strategy, Xavi knew how to put together great teams, most of which were very successful. This way, he emerged triumphantly in all of the following competitions:
- Spanish league: with the Barcelona club, the only Spanish team he’s played in, Xavi won eight leagues. He achieved this in 1999, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015.
- Copa del Rey: he managed to win three of these in 2009, 2011 and 2015.
- Spanish Super Cup: it’s the trophy that the winners from both of the previous competitions receive. Xavi won this trophy on six occasions: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
- UEFA Champions League: he won in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015.
- UEFA Super Cup: he achieved this on two occasions, 2009 and 2011.
- FIFA Club World Cup: he also won this cup two times, in 2009 and 2011.
- FIFA World Cup: he reached the top of the soccer world in South Africa 2010.
- Other titles: besides the world cup, Xavi also helped to win the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Nigeria 1999, the Sidney Olympic Games 2000 (with a U-23 team) and the UEFA European Championship with the Spanish selection.
- Titles in Qatar: Emir of Qatar Cup, Qatar Cup, Qatari Sheikh Jassim Cup and Qatar Stars League.
Beyond this long list, he’s also won individual awards. He was the FIFA Bronze Ball (or the third-best player in the world) in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He was also chosen many times as the best player of the leagues and cups in which he’s played. And, we can’t forget that he was a part of the UEFA dream team on many occasions.
The future of Xavi Hernández as a coach
The Al Sadd team recently announced that they hired Xavi Hernández as the new coach for their first team, starting in July. He arrives with an important accolade since he helped to win the last league that the team played in Qatar.
How will Xavi’s teams play? Judging by his soccer vision and recent statements, he’ll try to follow the premises of the Catalan school. This means he’ll seek to promote offensive plays, possession, and pressure to recover the ball in the opposite field.
One thing is for sure: soccer will continue to benefit from the participation of Xavi Hernández as a protagonist in football, even if it’s within a less important league such as the Qatari. Even though we won’t be able to enjoy his precise passes and goals, he’ll undoubtedly reflect the essence of his game style on the teams he’ll coach.It might interest you...