When you look at a list of the most influential midfielders in football, Xavi is never far down on that list. The Barcelona legend has enjoyed an illustrious career in football which he ended in sunny Qatar with Al Sadd where he is now manager of the Qatari champions.
In his footballing days, he won a host of trophies winning eight La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and four honors with Al-Sadd. His international career was also a hugely successful period winning one World Cup and two European Championships for Spain.
The legacy he left at Barcelona was very special, his popularity on the pitch is mainly down to how good he could pass the ball, from his sneaky low passes that catch the defence off guard to the long dinking balls into the box Xavi had it all.
His passes were just the most known part of the way he played because it was the most visible part of his game, however, the thing that can easily go unnoticed with Xavi is how he dictated the game to how he wanted it to move, Xavi knew how to control the speeds of games at the drop of a hat, he truly was a midfield master and more midfielders should take after Xavi’s desire to control the speed of the game and bring defenders into them to create space up top for the attackers to have a shot at goal, I don’t think we see it enough these days.
His tactical movement is known as La Pausa(The Pause) it’s a hard skill to master but if you can do it then your already halfway to being a great midfielder. The way he used this skill almost felt like he was literally pausing the game and the only player on the field moving at a fast rate were his teammates, but it does take a lot of confidence to execute this skill.
Now we take a look at what the football world have said about Xavi over the years. Here are a few quotes on Xavi Hernandez.
Cesc Fabregas – “One of the big mistakes people make is to talk about who can be the next Xavi, to keep “It wasn’t really Messi who was the problem. It was Iniesta and Xavi. They can keep the ball all night long.”looking for him. We waste time constantly looking for the replacement for Xavi? There will never be another Xavi.”
Pep Guardiola – “I hope future players learn from him in the way that I learned from his love for the game. There wasn’t a single day went by when I didn’t see him enjoy it… He is the most amateur player I know, and at the same time the most professional player too, such is his love for football.”
Jamie Carragher on Xavi – “He is the best Spanish player of all time and the finest midfielder of his type I have seen… We don’t make players of that type in Britain.”
Carles Puyol’s quotes about Xavi – “The motor, the style, the brain of one of the best Barcelona teams in history.”
Sir Alex Ferguson quote about Xavi- “It wasn’t really Messi who was the problem. It was Iniesta and Xavi. They can keep the ball all night long.”
Henrik Larsson quotes on Xavi – “I didn’t realize how amazing Xavi was until I met him. I think Xavi is the best football player I have had as a team mate. His moves, the way he plays the ball, and turning without losing it… he just never loses the ball! He already knew where to put the ball when I was just starting to run.”
Xavi Quotes by Rivaldo – “An amazing player, but he never wanted to be the hero. Everything he did was for the good of Barcelona.”
Santi Cazorla – “There will never be a player like Xavi. I was fortunate to play with him and I learned something new every day. He’s a player that made the difficult look easy, simplifying everything.”
Xabi Alonso – “Without a doubt, Xavi is one of the most influential players there has been in football in recent years.”
Dani Alves – “While we live in the present, Xavi lives in the future. He thinks ahead of everyone and he makes everything so much easier.”
Sergio Busquets – “He is an example for me and all the players coming out of the youth system and trying to get into the first team”
Lionel Messi – “He is the best player in the history of Spanish football.”
Johan Cruyff – “If Xavi has a bad day then Barcelona do not play half as well. He is the one that sets the rhythm of the game. His play allows the team to function. He’s different.”
Iker Casillas – “People ask me every year who [I’d] take out of the Barcelona team to give us a better chance of winning and every year I tell them the same: Xavi. His control and use of the ball make him their best player.”
Andrea Pirlo – “Off the pitch he’s a great man, and is a great champion on it.”
Thierry Henry – “For me, he’s Mr Barcelona, like Tony Adams was Mr Arsenal. He won everything that he could win. It’s like the maestro with the orchestra, that’s what he was for me. The word ‘great’ doesn’t do him justice. This is an amazing, unbelievable, brilliant player that’s about to leave us.”
Andreas Iniesta – “I have run out of compliments for him. There is no-one who can compare to what he represents as a person and a player. His statistics, the years, the feelings he conjures up, his way of doing things are beyond words.”
Sergio Ramos- “Football in its purest form.”
Ander Herrea – “Xavi is unique; there won’t be another player like him. The style of Barcelona and the national team was forged through him.”
Vicente Del Bosque – “He knows how to defend and how to build up the game very well, as well as being a good finisher. I think he is a very complete player“