Xavier Hernandez was one of the best midfielders of his era and one of the best of all time. He was the perfect embodiment of the “tiki-taka “ passing style. He was a perfect playmaker who would look for space throughout the game and worked on one principle which is to take the ball and give the ball, not wasting time.
Xavi had always been a crucial player for both Barcelona and Spain. In his career he has helped Barcelona win eight La Liga titles and 4 UEFA Champions League titles, playing major roles in all the tournaments. For Spain, Xavi helped to win the Euro 2008 and the Euro 2012 where he was named the player of the tournament in Euro 2008 and became the only player in history to provide assists in two consecutive Euro Cup finals.
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Xavier Hernandez Creus was born on 25th January 1980 at Terrassa in Barcelona. His father Joaquim Hernandez was a first division player for Sabadell and his mother Maria Merce Creus was a housewife. Xavi joined the Barcelona youth academy or the La Masia at the age of 11.
Xavi was married to Nuria Cunillera in July 2013 and the couple had a daughter named Asia born on 3rd January 2016.
Xavi biography–CLUB CAREER:
At the age of 11, Xavi joined the Barcelona youth team or the La Masia. Xavi was in the reserves team and later played an important role for the Barcelona B and helped them qualify for the second division in the league.
Xavi made his first-team debut in a Copa Catalunya match against Lleida on 5 May 1998. On 18th August 1998, he made his debut in a fresh season and scored his first senior team goal in the Super Cup final against Mallorca.
While Barcelona was 10th in the league, Xavi scored in a 1-0 win against Real Valladolid and showed an impressive performance to become a key member of the team. In his debut season, he made 26 appearances and helped Barcelona to win the league title, and won himself the 999 La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year.
During the 2001 – 2002 season, Barcelona was on the verge of bankruptcy and struggling to keep its place in the run for La Liga title. Xavi was mostly used as a defensive midfielder that season. On 16th March 2002, Xavi scored his first-ever El Classico goal. Xavi ended the seasons of 2001 – 2002 and 2002 – 2003 with 20 assists and 7 goals. During the 2004 – 2005 season, Xavi was named as the vice-captain of the team which gave him the boost to help Barcelona win the La Liga title and the 2004 Supercopa De Espana.
During the 2005 – 2006 season, Xavi tore his ligaments of the left knee during the training session which kept him out of action for almost four months. He made his return in April 2006.
2009 – 2015:
In the 2009 – 2010 season, Xavi again became the highest assist provider in La Liga and provided two assists against Real Madrid in the 2-0 away win. On 3 June 2010, Madrid-based newspaper Marca awarded him third place in the annual Trofeo Alfredo di Stéfano award for the best player in La Liga, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
On 9 June 2010, Xavi signed a new four-year contract with the club, which could be automatically renewed up to 30 June 2016 based on a number of games played. On 2nd January 2011, Xavi made his 549th appearance for Barcelona against Levante and became the most capped player of Barcelona of all time. On 28th May 2011, Barcelona won another Champions League final after defeating Manchester United.
Xavi started the 2011 – 2012 season with a great goal-scoring ratio and started to make his influence on the team even after the signing of new mid-fielders. On 18th December 2011, at the FIFA Club World Cup final, Xavi scored one and assisted one to Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi. Xavi ended the season with the best goal-scoring ratio – ten in La Liga, two in Copa Del Rey, one in the Champions League, and one in the FIFA Club World Cup.
On 18th December 2012, Xavi renewed his contract with the club, keeping him in the club until 20th June 2016. Barcelona had virtually secured their La Liga title by the start of 2013, eventually equalling Real Madrid’s 100-point record of the previous season. On 16 January 2014, Xavi made his 700th appearance for the first team against Getafe in the Copa del Rey.
In June 2014, Xavi said he wanted to leave the club but on 22nd July after the appointment of the new manager and ex-teammate Luis Enrique, Xavi decided to stay one more year with the club. On 25 April 2015, Xavi made his 500th La Liga appearance, becoming the eighth player in history to do so. On 4 June, a farewell event was held at Barcelona for Xavi with players, managers, friends, and family paying tribute to him.
AL – SADD:
On 21 May 2015, Xavi announced that he would join Qatari club Al Sadd at the end of the 2014–15 season on a three-year contract. On 13th September 2015, Xavi made his debut for Al-Sadd in a 4–0 win over Mesaimeer where he provided an assist in the first goal. In the next match, Xavi scored his first goal for the club in a 2-2 draw against Umm Salal.
On 29th April 2017, Xavi won his first trophy with the club after a 2-1 victory over Al Jaish in the Qatar Cup final. Xavi initially said that he would retire at the end of the 2017 – 2018 season after the expiration of his term but went on to sign a two-year contract on 24th May 2018. On 2 May 2019, Xavi announced that he would be retiring from professional football at the end of the season.
INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL CAREER:
Xavi won the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1999, and the Olympic silver medal at the 2000 Olympics. Xavi made his senior team debut in 2000. He had capped 133 times for the Spain national team and was an influential figure in the team’s successes.
Xavi was selected for the Euro 2008 23- man squad for Spain. Spain looked dominant in the tournament with one of the best midfield in the tournament. Xavi scored the only goal in the finals to help Spain win their first Euro Cup since 1958.
Spain entered the Euro 2012 as the World Champions and was ready to make an impact in the tournament. Spain looked powerful and headed to their second consecutive European final. In the finals, Spain was ready to face Italy. Xavi provided two assists to Jordi Alba and Fernando Torres to claim a 4-0 win.
Xavi was included in the Spain’s 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He played an important role in the whole campaign. In the semi-finals, Xavi provided an assist for Carles Puyol to score the winner against Germany in the 88th minute. In the finals, the game headed to extra time where Andres Iniesta scored the winner against the Netherlands to help Spain win their first-ever World Cup.
Xavi was selected in the Spain’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. Spain entered the tournament as both World Champions and the European Champions but unexpectedly poor performances by Spain led to early elimination during the group stages of the tournament. Following the elimination, he announced his retirement from International Football.
On 28 May 2019, it was announced that Xavi would take over as manager of Al-Sadd on a two-year contract. Xavi helped the club reach the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League, where they were eliminated by Al-Hilal FC 6–5 on aggregate.
Xavi broke the headlines as he had accepted the offer of head coach for his childhood club Barcelona on 6th November 2021. Barcelona is set to make a dominating comeback in the 2022-23 season.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND RECORDS:
- La Liga: 1998–99, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15
- Copa del Rey: 2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15
- Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
- UEFA Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15
- UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011
- La Liga top assist provider: 2008–09, 2009–10
- World Soccer Player of the Year: 2010
- UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament: 2008
- UEFA Best Player in Europe Award Second place: 2011
- Ballon d’Or/FIFA Ballon d’Or Third place: 2009, 2010, 2011
- FIFA World Player of the Year Third place: 2009
- UEFA Champions League top assist provider: 2008–09
- UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year: 2008–09
- IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year: 1999
- La Liga Spanish Player of the Year: 2005
- Trofeo Alfredo Di Stéfano: 2nd place 2010, 3rd place 2011
- La Liga Midfielder of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2011
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2010
- UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2008, 2012
- FIFA FIFPro World XI: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
- FIFA FIFPro World XI 3rd team: 2014
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
- ESM Team of the Year: 2008–09, 2010–11, 2011–12
- Don Balón Team of the Decade: 2010
- FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball: 2011
- FIFA Club World Cup Bronze Ball: 2009
- Globe Soccer Awards Player Career Award: 2013
- UEFA Ultimate Team of the Year (published 2015)
- Marca Legend Award: 2015
- Spanish Sportsman of the Year: 2009
- Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit: 2010
- Prince of Asturias Award for Sports: 2010 , 2012
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