Xavier ‘Xavi’ Hernandez has announced he will be retiring from football at the end of the domestic season. The 39 year-old currently plays for Al Sadd, but is most remembered for his long career at Barcelona.
Regarded as one of the best ever midfielders, he built up a world-renown midfield partnership with fellow Spaniard Andres Iniesta, often being categorized as one of the best of all time.
He was known for his silkiness, nonchalant composure on the ball and playmaking abilities. He has been referred to as a pass maestro, making the most difficult of passes seem simple.
He joined Barcelona’s academy La Masia at 11 years of age and made his first team debut in August 1998. He won 8 LaLiga titles, 4 Champions leagues and 3 Copa del Rey’s during his illustrious career there.
Xavi played a club record 767 times for Barcelona, scoring 85 times over 17 seasons. A multi-time Balon d’Or nominee, he was involved in UEFA’s team of the year 5 times and was voted Spain’s sportsman of the year in 2009.
Xavi represented Spain over his 14 year tenure, playing 133 times and scoring 13 times. He was a pivotal part of Spain’s ‘golden generation’ that won Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012.
He left Barcelona for Qatari side Al-Sadd in June 2015, prompting an outpouring of emotions from the fans and he received a rapturous reception after his final game, during a special ceremony at the Camp Nou.
“I’ve run out of compliments. There’s no one who can compare to what he represents as a person and player. His stats, the years, the feelings, his way of doing things are beyond words. He’s unique, unrepeatable.”Andres Iniesta – former Barcelona and Spain teammate
He has made 112 appearances in his 4 seasons in Qatar, scoring 25 times. He has since announced that his ambition to go into coaching sometime in the future was a major contributor in his decision to retire.
Xavi will always be remembered as someone who revolutionised the art of the pass. A club legend and sporting icon- respected, admired and revered around the globe.