Xavi

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by Eddy_JukeZ, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Aug 28, 2019
    #81

    2mufc0 Full Member

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    I mean it all depends on how you see things, if that's the way you see it fair enough, we don't have to agree.
  2. Aug 28, 2019
    #82

    Eddy_JukeZ Full Member

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    He's clearly a tier above Scholes.

    I think Iniesta is too, but I'd put Pirlo in the tier with Scholes.

    I think Iniesta-Zidane are close, but I think Xavi bests them both.
  3. Aug 29, 2019
    #83

    tentan Full Member

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    Tier 1 - Zidane, Xavi, Iniesta

    Tier 2 - Scholes, Pirlo
  4. Aug 29, 2019
    #84

    Kush Full Member

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    Watching that video gave me serious PTSD of those CL Finals vs Barcelona, we were just never in with a chance versus them.

    I agree, Scholes while he was a great player for us is incredibly overrated on this board.
  5. Aug 29, 2019
    #85

    giorno Full Member

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    It's not a huge advantage. And barca's midfield had been overrun plenty of times before Guardiola. Even with Guardiola there have been games were their midfield struggled heavily. Chelsea at the bridge, the copa del rey final against us(with Pepe in midfield, too!), athletic bilbao under bielsa, valencia with emery and banega...

    Is that a retort? Maradona was expected to be in the conversation for best ever pretty much from the moment people first knew of him, won a WC pretty much by himself, lead Napoli to two serie A titles and a Uefa Cup. Van Basten was 23 in '88 and already a balon d'or level player, and had anyone's opinion of Cristiano as one of the top 5-7 players of all time change before and after 2014?


    Zidane never played on teams as good as guardiola's barcelona, and at international level france won a WC and a Euro with him, self-sabotaged(with him coming off an injury) in 2002, went out to that miracolous Greece in 2004(who also beat Xavi's Spain) and made a final in 2006(beating Xavi's Spain in the process. Xavi was 26, Zidane 34 and it was his 4th to last game, and there's no question as to who was the better player)
    So, anything that happened before 2008 doesn't matter? The fact that barcelona were open to sell him before then? The only conclusion i can take from that is you didn't watch barcelona or spain all that much, even during Xavi's peak

    I can do the same for Xavi. Chelsea SF at SB, Inter at San Siro, Barcelona-Real Madrid 1-2 at Camp Nou, Copa del Rey final in 2011, Croatia euro 2012(Modric and Casillas the two best players on the pitch for that one btw)

    And Xavi was better than Modric of course

    Well, no. He certainly wasn't overrun when we smacked them at the bernabeu in 2014, or in the second leg were he was coming back from an injury and while he still had the legs he'd been dominating the game. The copa final, several of the last clasicos which we lost because their forwards outplayed ours...

    Because you haven't seen enough of him
    Incidentally a game in which Pepe spent the entire first half overrunning their midfield and Xavi did nothing at all
  6. Aug 29, 2019
    #86

    Jim Beam The Joker

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    Wow, there were games where Xavi struggled and he was not so great before 2008 (which is debatable).

    Let's ignore that those games where Xavi struggled at his peak in midfield were in such minority that people left shocked and are seen as anomaly (Chelsea SB or Inter at San Siro, the later being more of a case with Barcelona attack). Let's ignore the fact that midfielders peak later and the fact that none of Barcelona or Spain looked the same after he was gone.
    Players should be rated by how influential they are to their teams. Xavi was the brain of both Barcelona and Spain during the best years in their history.
  7. Aug 29, 2019
    #87

    MVBDX New Member

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    Regarding the comparisons between Xavi and Modric: Xavi was more of a system player, while Modric is more versatile. It reminds me of Simeone's comparison between Messi and Ronaldo, if you've got the right pieces and the right team, Messi would reach a higher level, but if you were to pick any random side, Ronaldo would be more successful. I think Modric is the same, with Xavi having the higher ceiling in the right system, which he didn't have pre-2008.
  8. Aug 29, 2019
    #88

    A-man Full Member

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    This is how he will be remembered by me as well. Great player, but sore loser.
  9. Aug 29, 2019
    #89

    Demyanenko_square_jaw Full Member

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    I remember Xavi did get a lot of hype as a young player/prospect, he was mentioned a lot as a new Guardiola and Van Gaal talked him up in his first stint. He just didn't quite live up to it and only started to come back into his own when given a different role slightly further forward around 2004. I seem to recall him mentioning a few times in interviews over the years that he seriously considered leaving Barca around this time because he felt he just wouldn't be able to get out of the shadow of Guardiola as a player.

    That was probably why he it took a while for him to be widely recognised again outside Spain, hype had moved on to other players and Spain was a footballing country only just emerging from often underachieving and being in the shadow of Italy as a league. You didnt get situations like you do nowadays where it take about two months of good football playing for Barca or Real for loads of people to declare you one of the worlds best.
  10. Aug 29, 2019
    #90

    thepolice123 Full Member

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    Personally I think its pure myth that Spain and Barca declined mainly because Xavi went into semi-retirement.

    No doubt it impacted their football but both teams were already transitioning away from their ultra possession oriented football. The Pep project was coming to an end while Spain despite being World Champions were toothless at the World Cup. They had Villa and Iniesta bailing them out on numerous occasions. 2 years later Spain thrashed Italy at the Euros playing fast and direct football.
  11. Aug 29, 2019
    #91

    Casanova85 Full Member

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    To be fair, Barça from 2000 to 2003 was a madhouse. Even Puyol was this close to being sold (to Liverpool! if not mistaken).

    He even played as some kind of DMF with Rexach in 2001-2002. It was Rijkaard who used him as a pure CMF, backed up by Edmilson as DMF and aided by a Top Top AMF, Deco. 2004-2005 was the first great season of Xavi, IMO.
  12. Aug 29, 2019
    #92

    Jim Beam The Joker

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    Xavi still played in that Euro on a very high level, so not sure what are you trying to say. That he could play in a bit more fast and direct football also (that final was exception btw, during the tournament they were clearly a possession based team and tried to control the game that way)

    The fact remains that Spain and Barcelona never quite reached the same heights without him. You could attribute that to some other factors, sure, but it is hard to ignore him as one of the main reasons.
  13. Aug 29, 2019
    #93

    adexkola Arsenal supporter

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    This. All of this.
  14. Aug 29, 2019
    #94

    Tostao_80 New Member

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    That's a myth though. Iniesta's record as a goalscorer considering his ability and the times he's played as part of Barca and Spains front 3 is very poor. He averaged 0.08 goals per game for Barca and 0.1 for Spain.
    Xavi was a better goalscorer for Barca. He averaged 0.11 goals per game, and he played deeper. He matched Iniesta's 0.1 goals for Spain, despite again playing deeper.
    Regarding assists, Xavi was also more prolific.
    So where does Xavi sit in terms of history. For me, when you combine consistency, importance, peak level and success, has there ever been a more formidable central midfielder? Not sure there has been.
  15. Aug 29, 2019
    #95

    totaalvoetbal Full Member

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    He is the best controlling midfielder I have ever seen. Arguably the best passer of the ball at all ranges, one the best final passers and had the stamina usually associated with players with lesser technical ability. He covered the most ground in almost every game he played for 4 years.
  16. Aug 29, 2019
    #96

    Zehner Full Member

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    I'll never get this. Modric and Xavi have an almost identical skill set with Xavi simply edging it all in all. If two players are so similar, how can one be a "system player" while the other is not? It's the same bullshit with Messi. Yes, he's only played in Barcelona, but he's been deployed in at least four different positions at arguably GOAT level. Worse but stylewise similar players have been successfully deployed in almost any different system out there (Hazard at Chelsea [even in destructive Mourinho and Conte systems], Salah at Liverpool, Dybala at Juventus, Robben/Ribery at Bayern, Neymar at PSG, Isco at Madrid. The list goes on and on and on). If those players succeeded in those systems how on earth should Messi fail? He's a clear upgrade in every aspect of the game on them.
  17. Aug 30, 2019
    #97

    Zehner Full Member

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    The comparison with Zidane is a tough one. Iniesta and Xavi are all about consistency. Although they are extremely gifted players, obviously, they simply aren't on the same level talentwise as Zidane who has a fair shout at being the most gifted technician of all time. But Zidane was inconsistent, both over the course of a season as well as over the course of a game.

    But Xavi and Iniesta are all about consistency. Finding the right solutions in every single situation, doing the basics right and just exercising an incredible control over the opponent by having them chasing their shadows and squirming out of any pressure situation through their intelligence, passing and low center of gravity. I don't think Barcelona would have been as dominant with Zidane in the team, at least not if he displayed the same decision making he usually had throughout his career. It's the same with Ronaldinho, exemplarily. Zidane and Ronnie are difference makers, players who do the special thing but drift in and out of games. Xavi and Iniesta are the exact opposite. Sure, they have their moments of magic, too, but in general, they are the players controlling the game (they create "order" if you want to see it that way) while Zidane and Ronaldinho were players unexpected plays (creating moments of "chaos"). Zizou and Ronnie are the players for the 5 minutes of magic in every game while Xavi and Iniesta are there for the remaining 85.

    On the flipside, I don't think Xavi and Iniesta would've been conisdered Ballon D'Or material even if Messi wasn't around. They don't really have the x-factor Zidane or Ronaldinho did have. I actually don't think that it's a question of "the one or the other". In a possession oriented style, Zidane wouldn't be used in midfield I suppose or if he was it would be in a similar role Guardiola created for de Bruyne in which he could play very risky. Zidane exemplarily was used on the wings a lot of times throughout his career so I guess that'd be his position.


    Personally, if I were to set up a team that should efficiently win every game they play, I'd go for Xavi and Iniesta. Simply because they'll ensure that you've got as much control over the game as you can have in football while simultaneously contributing enough "moments of magic". However, if I were to set up a team of aesthetically pleasing and spectacular players, I'd choose Zidane and Ronaldinho.

    So if you define "better footballer" as the one who'll maximize your chances of winning, then I'd say the two spaniards take it. If you define better footballer as who's superior ability-wise, it's definitely Zidane.
  18. Aug 30, 2019
    #98

    MVBDX New Member

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    Modric has way more defensive capabilities with a crazy engine, which was interestingly his standout attribute in the eyes of SAF when he was talking about him a decade ago, put him in any team and he can do it. Xavi knew how to help his side press as a team, but that worked for a particular system with a particular sets of players, hence him being a system player, put him in Real, and he'd be much less effective, because much of his play is tied into how his teammates complement that style, closing down spaces, making the right runs, one-twos etc. etc.

    Modric has a better shot in him as well, and although he has been deployed further back most of the time, he still had the most goals scored from outside the box in the league since he had joined.
  19. Aug 30, 2019
    #99

    Cascarino Full Member

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    very much respect your opinion on football matters, don’t always agree with you but I know that you know your football. On this however I think you’re well off mate.

    I’ve watched a shit load of Xavi throughout his career, and there’s no way that I’d put any of those players above him. Comparing different footballers is a fairly pointless exercise though especially when it comes to different positions.

    This is something we’ll have to just agree to disagree
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  20. Aug 30, 2019

    NoPace Full Member

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    The best of the coveted "3rd best player in the world behind Messi and Cristiano" award winners.

    He loves slavery now?
  21. Aug 30, 2019

    DoneDaDa New Member

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    Every player is a systemically player in one way or another I don't why people seem to think otherwise. Skill sets wise sure some maybe adjust to different styles but that also applies to everyone. No one is completely versatile as people think.
  22. Aug 30, 2019

    Eddy_JukeZ Full Member

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    Zidane is definitely a more aesthetically pleasing player to watch than Xavi which often sways opinion on who's a better player in general(the more aesthetically pleasing player often wins - it's why some think Ronaldinho was a better player than Messi).

    Zidane's best performance is probably better than Xavi's best performance, though that's hard to really argue either way.

    As for the Ballon D'Or material regarding Xavi, I think he should have won it in 2009 arguably. He had 30 odd assists as a central midfield that season which is just insane to me and was often dropping deeper to collect the ball(Pep didn't trust Yaya as a holding midfielder).
  23. Aug 30, 2019

    Zehner Full Member

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    I agree that at least based on the apparemt criteria the Ballon D'Or has been handed out Xavi should've won at least one, just like Iniesta, Ribery/Robben and Neuer/Kroos/another German player. Yet they didn't which kind of proves my point. They don't have this 'specialness' Zidane, Ronaldinho etc. have although they were probably more effective players and contributed more to their team's success all together.
  24. Aug 30, 2019

    Zehner Full Member

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    Xavi quite regularly ran more than 13 km a game and he was a counter pressing machine. Modric and Xavi are about equal in their defensive work rate, Modric simply does a little more slide tackles. I think that's a weak point and I'm sure most Barca fans will agree. That's not downplaying Modric by the way, he was my favourite player in that Madrid side that won those CL titles by far, but what you're suggesting doesn't do Xavi justice.
  25. Sep 8, 2019

    matbezlima New Member

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    At least from what I have seen so far, his performances in the 2010-2011 season were not as consistently fantastic and creative (specially when it comes to genial through balls) when compared to previous seasons. He still had some truly awesome games, specially in the big stage. His performance in the 5-0 against Real was truly fantastic. But overall in the season, it seems that he was playing a lot safer and not trying as many fantastic through balls, happy enough to simply retain possession, like in the game against Malaga in the 4-1 victory in 2011 (I watched the entire first half and part of the second), Iniesta, Messi, Villa and even Pedro, I think, were playing the crucial fantastic through balls while Xavi was happy to just pass sideways in the center of the pitch.

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    I looked at whoscored. They do not have stats for 2008-2009 season, but for 2009-2010 season Xavi appears as Barcelona's third best player in La Liga based on average rating of his performances: 7.67. Dani Alves was second and Messi first. He also had an average of one through ball per game and 3.2 key passes per game. And he was also showing great skills, like his fantastic performance against Malaga in Barcelona's 2-1 win. In the 2009-2010 UCL, his performances according to whoscored were crazily fantastic. An average rating of 7.90, the second best in the team. Also 3.7 key passes per game and 1.8 through balls per game. These are insane numbers. Considering that he was injured more in the 2009-2010 season compared to 2008-2009 and how he had less assists, can you imagine how ridiculously impressive all these stats would be for his 2008-2009 season, considering that he had 20 assists in La Liga and 7 in UCL for the 2008-2009 season, while he had "only" 14 assists in La Liga and 4 in UCL in the 2009-2010 season?

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    2010-2011 season in whoscored gives him an average of 2.5 key passes per game and 0.8 through balls per game in La Liga. Still good, but not as dominant as before, Messi and Dani Alves were actually quite close to his numbers. I do not remember well now, but Iniesta was close too. When it comes to the average ratings in La Liga based on whoscored again, he was the fourth best player, with a 7.58 average rating. Dani Alves had 3.66 and Iniesta 3.77, the highest average rating in La Liga for Iniesta's whole career by far in the site. In the 2010-2011 UCL's average ratings, Xavi had an average of 7.44 (behind Busquets in UCL and perhaps even more Barcelona players, I do not recall well now), had 2.2 key passes and only 0.4 throughballs per game, far behind Dani Alves, Messi and Iniesta, who had an 1.1 through balls per game. Xavi finished the season 3 assists in UCL and 7 in La Liga, a clear drop in numbers.

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    I want to see a version Xavi playing like in these games below, often making great, incisive, fast passes and skills. Aside from the 5-0 against Real Madrid and the 5-1 against Espanyol, I am not getting this level of creativity and constant genius as much as I would expect from a player often praised for his fantastic game's vision, through balls, creativity and the best central midfielder ever, though I still have to watch the vast majority of the games, I confess.









  26. Sep 8, 2019

    Brwned Have you ever been in love before?

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    Most of the Spain team were pretty shattered after the 2010 WC off the back of a long season, and Xavi in particular played a crazy amount of games over that period. The fact he managed to keep such a high level then is a huge testament to him. Injuries started catching up to him not long after! Messi had taken a more dominant role by this point but Xavi was still the one dictating the play for one of the best sides ever - and probably the most entertaining version of it.
  27. Sep 8, 2019

    Kaush949 Full Member

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    Xavi > Zidane

    Zidane was a magician but he needed

    M-A-K-E-L-E-L-E
  28. Sep 8, 2019

    BlackShark_80 Full Member

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    myth, Zidane won 1998 WC without Makelele. As good as Xavi was, Zidane just simply on another level than him.
  29. Sep 8, 2019

    kouroux 45k posts to finally achieve this tagline

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    By your logic, Xavi was playing with much inferior players around him during his career.
  30. Sep 8, 2019

    Ramos Full Member

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    Yup, even in 2000 Claude wasn't in the squad. 2002 was his tournament debut.
  31. Sep 8, 2019

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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    Zidane wasn't on a different level. Probably a bit better though.
  32. Sep 8, 2019

    FrankDrebin New Member

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    Shouldn't the comparison be Iniesta vs Zidane ?
  33. Sep 8, 2019

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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    Is that the caveate you'd force yourself to use with Sir Alex as well? Seems a pretty biased forced inclusion.
  34. Sep 8, 2019

    A-man Full Member

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    I'm not sure what part you disagree with?
    A: you think Xavi was a mediocre player
    B: you think Xavi was a good looser

    Personally I believe he was a great player. One of the best in his generation. Most people would agree.

    I have personally never seen a worse and more sore loser than Xavi.

    Indont see any bias with this, as "great but sore loser" is pretty much the common view on Xavi.
  35. Sep 8, 2019

    Avocado Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    Xavi better than Zidane? Seriously :houllier:

    He was great at Juego de Posicion but there have been better midfielder's before and after him.
  36. Sep 8, 2019

    2mufc0 Full Member

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    Zidane is one of the players where his stock has fallen after retirement, it's weird. During his playing time he was rated extremely high, often talked amongst the games greats. Wonder if it's just this forum or a wider view.
  37. Sep 8, 2019

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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    Not really.

    The common view is that "Xavi was a truly great player". Nobody who is unbiased summarises an all time great by throwing in their other apparently noteworthy trait of being a sore loser (common among greats funnily enough). Just like the only people who I'd expect to summarise Sir Alex Ferguson as a "great manager but <<pointless negative trait>>" would be Liverpool fans.

    I'm sure Xavi may be a sore loser. But so many top athletes/managers/achievers are that it's an odd one to use to summarize them as a whole.
  38. Sep 8, 2019

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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    I think it's fair. He was the best of that era and heralded as so. But when Messi comes along a few years later and plays football like some superior alien race would, for me personally it's hard to do anything but drop Zidane a few padestals down.

    Still an absolute joy to watch and magnificent footballer.
  39. Sep 8, 2019

    2mufc0 Full Member

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    Yeah I don't belive he's on the level of Maradona, Pele, Messi etc but only probably 1 tier below, he's not miles behind.
  40. Sep 8, 2019

    A-man Full Member

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    Well, if you haven't seen so much of Xavi yourself, but just assume things about him like "I'm sure Xavi may be..", maybe you shouldn't critize me who have actually seen myself and know how he behaved time and time again.

    He will be remembered as a great player who played an important role in a legendary Barcelona team. But to many people when the name Xavi comes up, they think of a sore loser. Nothing strange. To me that really sums him up. And this was my opinion.

    Edit: If I asked people "name the greateat midfielder around 2010" maybe 20-30% would say Xavi. He was that good. If I asked "name the sorest loser of all midfielders around 2010" 90% would say Xavi.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019