Xavi

Eddy_JukeZ

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Found this incredible compilation of Xavi during the 2010-2011 season


Arguably one of the most press resistant players ever and best central midfielder ever.

What a player he was.
 

tentan

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Greatest ever central midfielder for me.

Would be third behind Ronaldo and Messi as the best player of the 2010s era.
 

BlackShark_80

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Definitely belongs in the top 10 best central midfielders ever. For me Matthaus is the best central midfielders ever.
 
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11101

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Best midfielder i've seen in the 30 years or so i've watched football. Messi wouldn't be the player he became without Xavi.
 

Skills

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Best midfielder i've seen in the 30 years or so i've watched football. Messi wouldn't be the player he became without Xavi.
Messi has been great even after the likes of Xavi and Iniesta were after their best.

Barcelona wouldn't have been anywhere near as dominant/historic without any one of Xavi, Iniesta or Messi though. Rare that a team has 3 of the 4 best players in the world, who also happened to be always on the same wavelength.
 

11101

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Messi has been great even after the likes of Xavi and Iniesta were after their best.
He has, and he would still have been great, but the space and service afforded to him by having Xavi and Iniesta in the team allowed him to grow into the special player he is.

edit: fixed quotes
 
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SilentWitness

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He does that roundabout thing every single time and nobody gets it still. Beautiful player.
 

harms

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There are obviously too many different types of midfielders to pick one as a definite best, but he undoubtedly belongs in the highest tier alongside Matthäus, Rijkaard and maybe a couple more like Falcão. I've always likes Iniesta more, but what a player!
 

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He's the best midfielder of his kind I think it's safe to say. You could argue there have been better central midfielders but they're different types. Matthaus was an all action box to box midfielder who was nowhere near as creative as Xavi but was vastly superior in other areas of his game. Impossible to compare really.
 

giorno

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Couldn't play on a dry or uneven pitch. In 11/12 i remember guardiola being forced to sub him out against valencia or athletic because banega and ander herrera were pressing him into submission and eating him alive

O-V-E-R-R-A-T-E-D
Lolz
 

MVBDX

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Sensational midfielder, and a sore loser, after every loss/elimination he'd say but we had more possession, the pitch was bad, football lost... like clockwork.

Unlike him, Iniesta was class on and off the pitch.
 

izec

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Sensational midfielder, and a sore loser, after every loss/elimination he'd say but we had more possession, the pitch was bad, football lost... like clockwork.

Unlike him, Iniesta was class on and off the pitch.
He is full of the Barca way and possession style, he is not hiding his bias. Only one correct way for him to play football. He was super successful with it, so i dont think it is a surprise.
 

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He was the perfect player for the Barcelona and Spain systems.
 

izec

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Would take him over Iniesta, he was the heartbeat and brain at the same time of the Barca and Spain squads. He just dominated everyone and everything, i dont remember him having really bad games once he established himself, he was just on it every time and doing his thing in the midfield fo the park, regardless of the opposition. Absolute machine. The natural talent he had was a gift
 

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He is full of the Barca way and possession style, he is not hiding his bias. Only one correct way for him to play football. He was super successful with it, so i dont think it is a surprise.
Interestingly his Sadd team play very much counter attacking football. Although they have done for a couple years so maybe he’s just reluctant to change it as it works well for them. Nice to see he’s capable of coaching a different style though.
 

KennyBurner

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There are obviously too many different types of midfielders to pick one as a definite best, but he undoubtedly belongs in the highest tier alongside Matthäus, Rijkaard and maybe a couple more like Falcão. I've always likes Iniesta more, but what a player!
Iniesta was better to me and also more versatile. Also I’m curious how dominant he was before Messi. I never really paid attention to him or Barcelona before Messi even when Ronaldinho was there. Most of he’s clips always has Messi included so it’s a bit interesting.
 

DWelbz19

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Would take him over Iniesta, he was the heartbeat and brain at the same time of the Barca and Spain squads. He just dominated everyone and everything, i dont remember him having really bad games once he established himself, he was just on it every time and doing his thing in the midfield fo the park, regardless of the opposition. Absolute machine. The natural talent he had was a gift
Agreed. Absolutely no slight on Iniesta, but I'd take Xavi every time.
 

Invictus

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The biggest compliment you can pay Xavi is that neither Barcelona nor Spain have been as dominant or intelligent or efficient in the press or even defensively secure with his decline/move-away despite having incredible players like Messi, Iniesta, Busquets, Neymar, Suárez and co. It's like taking Beckenbauer or Cruyff or Platini out of their teams for a period of time back in the day — their absence is immediately felt as everything becomes less fluid and organized and “automatic” because they were the basis for the entire plan. As soon as he slowed down (and subsequently left), Barcelona's offense grew in stature as the focal point of the club and they became increasingly reliant on individual magic and counter-attacking football...which was a watershed moment in football, really. Not many central midfielders can claim to be that important for their teams and that influential on the overall footballing landscape — and certainly not for teams as dominant and successful as Barcelona and Spain were. Definitely the greatest midfielder of his type as a consummate master-of-puppets (and one of the greatest overall with aforementioned players like Rijkaard, Matthäus, Neeskens, Falcão, Didi if you qualify him as one), one of the greatest manipulators of space the game has ever seen (his best quality IMO...always thinking about space and timing and planning ahead), the man who is most synonymous with our perception of tiki-taka, one of the most consistent and intelligent players of the modern era (with the likes of Lahm), and an outstanding yet understated leader/organizer to boot.
Best player to not have won a Ballon d'or for me in the 10 or so years I've watched football :D
Aye, hard to disagree with that opinion — one of the greatest/best players to not win a Ballon D'Or while qualifying for the award (with the likes of Baresi or Puskás), and certainly a big miss for the decade gone by.
 

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He had incredible awareness on a football pitch, like a picture of where everyone is and is going to be. Very intelligent player. And incredible balance and passing ability to go with it. Best midfielder in recent times.
 

harms

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Iniesta was better to me and also more versatile. Also I’m curious how dominant he was before Messi. I never really paid attention to him or Barcelona before Messi even when Ronaldinho was there. Most of he’s clips always has Messi included so it’s a bit interesting.
Xavi’s best years are more dependent on Pep and not on Messi. Even though he had won the Euros and was voted the MVP of the tournament right before Pep came.

His international career takes anyway any doubt that he can play at the same level without Messi.

Iniesta was probably a more naturally gifted player, his dribbling was just out of this world, but Xavi was more crucial to the system. Iniesta is obviously an all-time great talent as well, and also someone with the unique ability of stepping up on the biggest stage.

Interestingly, unlike Iniesta, Xavi was not seen as a clear generational talent when he just came on to the scene, what makes his career trajectory even more impressive.
 

KeanoMagicHat

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Barcelona haven't won the Champions League since he left and Spain haven't won an international tournament. He may not have started in 2015 and was past his best, but he still came on with 15 mins to go and took the steam out of the game. Nobody has ever been better at running a game from midfield. I notice it most with Spain since Xavi left. They have the shell and appearance of what they used to in terms of passing. But it's passing for the sake of passing. Every pass Xavi made had a purpose of pulling someone out of position or setting the tone. Tika-taka lived and died with him.
 

SambaBoy

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I rememeber we were strongly linked with him before he broke into the Barcelona team. Imagine a midfield of Beckham, Scholes, Keane, Xavi, Giggs.
 

harms

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I rememeber we were strongly linked with him before he broke into the Barcelona team. Imagine a midfield of Beckham, Scholes, Keane, Xavi, Giggs.
Yeah, and he himself said something about us being his favourite destination in case he ever left Barcelona.
 

thepolice123

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Tbf he was already identified as a key player during the Ronaldinho years. He was the vice captain of the team at just 24 years old. Its just that football didn't notice footballers of his type then while Barca had a mega superstar in Ronaldinho who had all the attention.
 

harms

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Tbf he was already identified as a key player during the Ronaldinho years. He was the vice captain of the team at just 24 years old. Its just that football didn't notice footballers of his type then while Barca had a mega superstar in Ronaldinho who had all the attention.
Well yes, he was certainly a very good player but I doubt that anyone thought that he would become the greatest ever in his role. Compare that to, say, how Fabregas or Thiago were hyped when they were younger. Although the same can be said about Scholes and many other controlling midfielders, they usually peak quite late.
 

fps

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Couldn't play on a dry or uneven pitch. In 11/12 i remember guardiola being forced to sub him out against valencia or athletic because banega and ander herrera were pressing him into submission and eating him alive

O-V-E-R-R-A-T-E-D
Lolz
Oh my god that white text.
 

thepolice123

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Well yes, he was certainly a very good player but I doubt that anyone thought that he would become the greatest ever in his role. Compare that to, say, how Fabregas or Thiago were hyped when they were younger. Although the same can be said about Scholes and many other controlling midfielders, they usually peak quite late.
If you ask me its a combination of things. I wouldn't narrow it down as simply a sudden explosion in his abilities. He has always been the same player. Barca and Spain peaked at the same time and football shifted towards a more possession focused game. He played in an era which exemplified his abilities while being the midfield focal point of two ATG teams.

Similar to Scholes' career trajectory. People would always point his peak at the 06-07 season. But he was already top player going as way back as 02-03. Similiar to Xavi's Barca, we went through a transition in the same period and peaked around the same time 07-09 (Barca a year later).
 
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CosmoKramer

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Sensational midfielder, and a sore loser, after every loss/elimination he'd say but we had more possession, the pitch was bad, football lost... like clockwork.

Unlike him, Iniesta was class on and off the pitch.
What is the point of your post? Does it have anything to do with the OP or Xavi's level as a player? Of course he is a sore loser. Every player worth his salt has been a sore loser at some point in their careers. These guys are born winners so they hate losing more than anything else and will find any and every excuse for why they lost. Xavi would go to extreme at times in his opinions of what is good football, I agree, still doesn't change the fact that he is an all time great and your post is sounding like you are being salty just for the sake of it.

Anyway, for me, he is the best central midfielder in the last 20 years by some distance. Unlike all time greats like Matthaus, he was dependent on a system, in the sense that he wouldn't flourish as much in a more conservative, defensive line-up or a counter attacking team, but he elevated the system that suited him to new heights, more than any other central mid in history could have. I value him as the most important piece of 2009-2011 Barcelona, slightly above Messi and easily above Iniesta, Alves, Busquets etc. He made the high defensive line possible and Barcelona one of the hardest teams to be scored on by being almost impossible to dispossess. His value to that team was highlighted in the moment that he declined. We just weren't the same team despite Messi, Iniesta or Busquets still being in their primes. He still found a way to contribute to our second treble by being a super sub, subbed on in the second half to put the game beyond reach for our opponents. Also, the real leader of that team.
 

Theonas

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I rememeber we were strongly linked with him before he broke into the Barcelona team. Imagine a midfield of Beckham, Scholes, Keane, Xavi, Giggs.
Obviously would have been great but I don't think Xavi would have had near as much influence in a team/culture that was not as religiously focused on how they played the way Barcelona and Spain were. Iniesta is probably more versatile as his natural dribbling ability would have stood out anywhere.
 

Theonas

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The biggest compliment you can pay Xavi is that neither Barcelona nor Spain have been as dominant or intelligent or efficient in the press or even defensively secure with his decline/move-away despite having incredible players like Messi, Iniesta, Busquets, Neymar, Suárez and co. It's like taking Beckenbauer or Cruyff or Platini out of their teams for a period of time back in the day — their absence is immediately felt as everything becomes less fluid and organized and “automatic” because they were the basis for the entire plan. As soon as he slowed down (and subsequently left), Barcelona's offense grew in stature as the focal point of the club and they became increasingly reliant on individual magic and counter-attacking football...which was a watershed moment in football, really. Not many central midfielders can claim to be that important for their teams and that influential on the overall footballing landscape — and certainly not for teams as dominant and successful as Barcelona and Spain were. Definitely the greatest midfielder of his type as a consummate master-of-puppets (and one of the greatest overall with aforementioned players like Rijkaard, Matthäus, Neeskens, Falcão, Didi if you qualify him as one), one of the greatest manipulators of space the game has ever seen (his best quality IMO...always thinking about space and timing and planning ahead), the man who is most synonymous with our perception of tiki-taka, one of the most consistent and intelligent players of the modern era (with the likes of Lahm), and an outstanding yet understated leader/organizer to boot.
Ay. It is really incredible how much influence he had over what is arguably the greatest side of all time. There is no way that team would have reached the same standards without him and no one could have done a better job for them than him. However, I would argue that the same applies to him. Outside of that footballing culture and system, Xavi would have still been a great player but I doubt his genius would have been unlocked to that potential. This is no criticism at all as I think this applies to most players except maybe the Maradonas and Messis of this world. It's just amazing how much Pep, Busquets-Xavi-Iniesta and Messi complemented each other during that 2009-2011 period. You take away one element and you are talking about the difference between a great side and a once in a lifetime side.
 

giorno

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Oh my god that white text.
What of it, i was 50% serious. 3rd best player of the last decade? Seriously :houllier:

Best CM of the last 30 years....sure. But in the right circumstances.
 

fps

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What of it, i was 50% serious. 3rd best player of the last decade? Seriously :houllier:

Best CM of the last 30 years....sure. But in the right circumstances.
Frankly, apart from forwards at the sharp end, ranking players is mostly ridiculous isn't it.