Xavi Hernández i Creus (born 25 January 1980), is a Spanish footballer who plays for FC Barcelona as a central midfielder.
Xavi came through La Masia, the Barcelona youth academy, at the age of 11. He made his first-team debut against RCD Mallorca on 18 August 1998. Since then he has played 700 matches, scored 82 goals and made more than 180 assists for over 50 players. Xavi is
the first player in FC Barcelona's history to play 150 international matches. The embodiment of tiki taka style of play, Xavi is considered to be one of the greatest central midfielders of all time and among the best playmakers of his generation. Xavi won the U-20 World Cup for Spain in 1999, and the Olympic Silver Medal at the 2000 Olympics. Since making his senior team debut in 2000, he has been capped 130 times for the Spanish national team, and has been seen as an influential figure in the team's tremendous success. He played an integral role in Spain's victory at the 2010 World Cup, as well as their successes at both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. He had a 91% passing success rate at the 2010 World Cup and was named in the World Cup All-star Team. He was named Player of the Tournament by UEFA at Euro 2008. He was also named in the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament in 2008 as well as 2012. Playing for Barcelona, Xavi won the Man of the Match award in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final. Xavi has won more trophies (25) than any other Spanish player in history. He won the World Soccer Player of the Year award in 2010. Xavi has received five Ballon d'Or nominations, and finished in third place in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2011, he was runner up to Messi for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. He has been awarded the IFFHS World's Best Playmaker award for 4 years: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. Xavi has been included in the UEFA Team of the Year for 5 years (2008 To 2012), and has been voted into the FIFA World XI on 6 occasions: 2008 To 2013. At Euro 2012, with his 2 assists in the Final, Xavi became the first player to register assists in 2 separate Euro finals, having set up the lone goal in theFinal 4 years earlier. He was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports in 2012. After the 2014 World Cup, Xavi announced his retirement from international football.
He played for the nation at the 2000 Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2010 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2012, 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Xavi was named Euro 2008's player of the tournament after Spain defeated Germany 1–0 in the final. Xavi was dominant in midfield where his metronomic passing and reading of the game was pivotal to Spain's success, in addition to making tackles, shaping attacks and driving Spain to their first silverware since the 1964 European Championships. "We have chosen Xavi because he epitomizes the Spanish style of play. He was influential in the whole possession, passing and penetrating kind of game that Spain played," saidAndy Roxburgh, head of UEFA's technical committee.
Xavi made a pass, rolled towards the German area, from which Fernando Torres scored the final winning goal.
Xavi is one of the best central midfielders of his generation relies largely on his ability to find and exploit space. As he said: "That's what I do: look for spaces. All day. I'm always looking". Finding space, he would appear for a team-mate to receive and then move the ball on, with his coach Pep Guardiola putting it: ‘I get the ball, I give the ball, I get the ball, I give the ball’. Xavi's abnormally good vision, pinpoint accurate passing and world class ball control allow him to dictate the flow of play whilst rarely relinquishing possession.
His ability to completely control some matches has earned him the sobriquet, The Puppet Master., Barcelona president Sandro Rosell believed Xavi, together with Messi, Iniesta and Busquets, perfected the club's tiki taka style of play.
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