Xavi

izec

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Dont know how people can compare players at different positions and different times even. I mean Xavi and Zidane are two completely different players, playing in different teams, positions, systems and with different responsibilities. Peak Xavi was also at a time Zidane wasnt playing at all.
 

tompo18

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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.
While Xavi was a wonderful player as mentioned earlier conditions needed to suit him.

He was not a complete midfield player, wasn't great at shooting, wasn't great at heading the football for example.

I always preferred Scholes, in my opinion he was more complete and for me more exciting to watch.
 

matbezlima

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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.
You should search about Cruyff. A far worse loser than Xavi
 

A-man

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You should search about Cruyff. A far worse loser than Xavi
Most people would say Cruyff was a great footballer, one of the greatest ever, but you just reduced him to "a far worse loser than Xavi". But you know, I'm fine with that as that's your opinion.
 

matbezlima

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Most people would say Cruyff was a great footballer, one of the greatest ever, but you just reduced him to "a far worse loser than Xavi". But you know, I'm fine with that as that's your opinion.
I regard Cruyff as the greatest european footballer ever. I was just talking about his arrogant personality.
 

A-man

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I regard Cruyff as the greatest european footballer ever. I was just talking about his arrogant personality.
I write that Xavi was great but a sore loser.
You say that can only be written by someone very biased.

You write that Cruyff was an even worse loser than Xavi. But that's not biased.

Maybe think twice next time you try to educate other people on forum.
 

Zehner

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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.
I see it like this: Iniesta is a superior football player ability-wise to Xavi - he's a better technician, a better through passer, a better dribbler and faster. Zidane again is an improvement on even Iniesta because he's an even better technician, a better dribbler, has greater passing range, poses a greater goal threat and on top of it also a very good header. However, I don't think any of Zidane's teams were as good as Iniesta's and Xavi's Barca and Spain and that has a lot to do with those two players. The way I see it, Zidane never had the impact for club or country Iniesta and Xavi had.

However, what would things look like if Zidane had played under Guardiola and subordinated to his tactical instructions? He obviously would've had to adjust his playing style since he naturally took much more risk than those two and he wouldn't be allowed to lose the ball as often as he used to for the Galacticos. If he did, he'd arguably be even better than those two in their respective roles but we've never seen it and you can't give him credit for something he hasn't done.
For me, this question is a very weird one. It feels natural to have Zidane among the very best of the sports (Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Best, Laudrup, Zico, Ronaldinho, that tier) and it doesn't for Xavi or Iniesta but on the other hand I think it is an absolutely fair opinion that those two were better than Zidane because they just elevated their teams to levels unknown before.

I think in the end, I have all three roughly on par. Zidane is the one with the greatest individual skill, Xavi has the best decision making and is the best team player while Iniesta is a healthy mix of both. So for me, the real discussion is, where do Xavi and Iniesta rank in the pantheons of the greats, especially considering that they were completely overshadowed by a certain Messi throughout their best club seasons? After all, they were the two best players of what is quite commonly seen as the best national team in history. So I think this is actually a very fair argument for including them in the Zidane/Cruyff/Luadrup/Beckenbauer mold, isn't it?
 

matbezlima

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I write that Xavi was great but a sore loser.
You say that can only be written by someone very biased.

You write that Cruyff was an even worse loser than Xavi. But that's not biased.

Maybe think twice next time you try to educate other people on forum.
I did not accuse anyone of bias. I only said that Cruyff was even more of a sore loser than Xavi
 

matbezlima

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I see it like this: Iniesta is a superior football player ability-wise to Xavi - he's a better technician, a better through passer, a better dribbler and faster. Zidane again is an improvement on even Iniesta because he's an even better technician, a better dribbler, has greater passing range, poses a greater goal threat and on top of it also a very good header. However, I don't think any of Zidane's teams were as good as Iniesta's and Xavi's Barca and Spain and that has a lot to do with those two players. The way I see it, Zidane never had the impact for club or country Iniesta and Xavi had.

However, what would things look like if Zidane had played under Guardiola and subordinated to his tactical instructions? He obviously would've had to adjust his playing style since he naturally took much more risk than those two and he wouldn't be allowed to lose the ball as often as he used to for the Galacticos. If he did, he'd arguably be even better than those two in their respective roles but we've never seen it and you can't give him credit for something he hasn't done.
For me, this question is a very weird one. It feels natural to have Zidane among the very best of the sports (Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Best, Laudrup, Zico, Ronaldinho, that tier) and it doesn't for Xavi or Iniesta but on the other hand I think it is an absolutely fair opinion that those two were better than Zidane because they just elevated their teams to levels unknown before.

I think in the end, I have all three roughly on par. Zidane is the one with the greatest individual skill, Xavi has the best decision making and is the best team player while Iniesta is a healthy mix of both. So for me, the real discussion is, where do Xavi and Iniesta rank in the pantheons of the greats, especially considering that they were completely overshadowed by a certain Messi throughout their best club seasons? After all, they were the two best players of what is quite commonly seen as the best national team in history. So I think this is actually a very fair argument for including them in the Zidane/Cruyff/Luadrup/Beckenbauer mold, isn't it?
For country, Zidane's impact can only be compared to Xavi and Iniesta together because Zidane was undisputably France's best player.

Also, peak Xavi from his two first seasons under Guardiola was better than peak Iniesta for fantastic through passes. It was in the 2010-2011 season that Xavi took more of a backseat, controlling and retaining ball possession, to Iniesta, Dani Alves and Messi playing the key through balls instead. I mean, just look at those stats and performances of his 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons that I posted in the previous page of this thread.
 
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Casanova85

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I regard Cruyff as the greatest european footballer ever. I was just talking about his arrogant personality.
To be the best you need an arrogant ego bigger than a mountain. And please don't mention Messi: he's not humble. Bragging and arrogant are not necessarily similar concepts.

And for the record, I think Scholes was better than/more similar to Iniesta. Xavi a different kind of MF (pacing,possession,passing).
 

giorno

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Neither were a level above Henry.
Zidane quite clearly was the better player. Even at 34 in the last few games of his career he had a higher level performance in him than henry ffs
 
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giorno

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The way I see it, Zidane never had the impact for club or country Iniesta and Xavi had.
Uhm, Xavi and Iniesta played together...what kind of comparison is that?
After all, they were the two best players of what is quite commonly seen as the best national team in history.
Quite commonly? You are literally the first person i've ever seen calling 2008-12 spain the best national team in history. Most people wouldn't even put them above 3 different iterations of Brazil....
 

Zehner

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Uhm, Xavi and Iniesta played together...what kind of comparison is that?

Quite commonly? You are literally the first person i've ever seen calling 2008-12 spain the best national team in history. Most people wouldn't even put them above 3 different iterations of Brazil....
And Zidane played with Thuram, Makelele, Henry, Trezeguet, Lizarazu, Deschamps and many more. He didn't win it singlehandedly but also had very, very good team mates. So yeah, I do think Xavi and Iniesta each had a greater impact on their national team than Zidane.

Tiki-taka was successfully employed by the Spanish national team to win UEFA Euro 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012. The team of this era is regarded as being among the greatest international teams in history.
That's from the Spanish national team's wikipedia site. So yeah, I'd say it's quite commonly agreed on that they are among the very best if not the best national team in history. I mean, they essentially did what Cruyff's total football team couldn't do, and they did thrice in a row. And that Dutch team is probably Spain's strongest contendor in this discussion. Other teams maybe the Hungarian team from 1954, Pele's Brazil, Zico's Brazil and possibly Germany 1974. I don't think any of them were better than Spain 2008-2012.
 

matbezlima

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And Zidane played with Thuram, Makelele, Henry, Trezeguet, Lizarazu, Deschamps and many more. He didn't win it singlehandedly but also had very, very good team mates. So yeah, I do think Xavi and Iniesta each had a greater impact on their national team than Zidane.



That's from the Spanish national team's wikipedia site. So yeah, I'd say it's quite commonly agreed on that they are among the very best if not the best national team in history. I mean, they essentially did what Cruyff's total football team couldn't do, and they did thrice in a row. And that Dutch team is probably Spain's strongest contendor in this discussion. Other teams maybe the Hungarian team from 1954, Pele's Brazil, Zico's Brazil and possibly Germany 1974. I don't think any of them were better than Spain 2008-2012.
Brazil 1970 was easily superior
 

matbezlima

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To be the best you need an arrogant ego bigger than a mountain. And please don't mention Messi: he's not humble. Bragging and arrogant are not necessarily similar concepts.

And for the record, I think Scholes was better than/more similar to Iniesta. Xavi a different kind of MF (pacing,possession,passing).
Iniesta is humble
 

MadDogg

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With the Xavi/Iniesta/Zidane comparisons in this thread:

If you were picking a team to play over the course of a season, Xavi is the first midfielder picked. Simple as that. No midfielder that I've seen in 25 years or so has his influence, consistency and dominance.

If you were picking a team to play a one-off match to determine the winner of everything, Zidane is arguably the first player picked over that same period of time (probably second to Messi). He was an incredible big-game player. He's certainly not in the reckoning for the 'full season' though, as he was always quite inconsistent and drifted in and out of most games.

Iniesta was somewhere in between. Also an amazing big-game player but not quite at the level of Zidane, and his influence and consistency over the course of the season was fantastic but not quite at the level of Xavi.
 

Righteous Steps

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Zidane quite clearly was the better player. Even at 34 in the last few games of his career he had a higher level performance in him than henry ffs
Yes because Henry was a forward who relied on pace, Zidane never had any, it was natural he would age more gracefully.

At their primes though, its impossible to argue Zidane was a level above, in fact only a handful of phenoms, Messi, Pele, Maradona, R9 could be argued to be a level above Henry, and even that is an argument.
 

giorno

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Yes because Henry was a forward who relied on pace, Zidane never had any, it was natural he would age more gracefully.

At their primes though, its impossible to argue Zidane was a level above, in fact only a handful of phenoms, Messi, Pele, Maradona, R9 could be argued to be a level above Henry, and even that is an argument.
They played together for years while one was in his prime and the other at the end of his, and still it was very clear to anyone watching who was the best player on their team. Henry was still very much in his prime in 2006, in fact i'd argue that was the best year of his career, the first time he truly left a mark in european and international football. And Zidane was literally playing the last 7 games of his career. And it was still very clear that Zidane had a level in him Henry didn't come close to. And this at a point in time in which Henry was actually the better player, or at least was supposed to. Then the wc rolls around and france are Zidane+10. Funny how that works...

Look up what their peers thought of them. Look up what managers and players and former managers and players still think of both of them

@Zehner among the best, sure. You said commonly considered the best ever. And as i've said, you're literally the first and so far only person i've ever known to hold that opinion. Even in recent times brazil 2002 is generally held in higher regard than spain, in my experience
 

SilentStrike

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Xavi has established himself among the first tier of Central midfielders

Tier 1: Matthaus, Didi, Falcao, Xavi

Tier 2: Neeskens, Breitner, Pirlo, Schweinsteiger etc.

The comparisons to Henry or zidane make no sense
 

matbezlima

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Xavi has established himself among the first tier of Central midfielders

Tier 1: Matthaus, Didi, Falcao, Xavi

Tier 2: Neeskens, Breitner, Pirlo, Schweinsteiger etc.

The comparisons to Henry or zidane make no sense
Pirlo is in the first tier. Best long passer ever and crazy game vision. A genius, at least one of the 10 or 5 best italian players ever. Probably the best playmaker of all time. Pure class
 

BlackShark_80

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Pirlo is in the first tier. Best long passer ever and crazy game vision. A genius, at least one of the 10 or 5 best italian players ever. Probably the best playmaker of all time. Pure class
I won't call Pirlo the best playmaker of all time, he is the best Regista/DLP in the last 30-40 years but the best ever? no chance.
 

matbezlima

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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.





Does anyone here have anything more to say about this post of mine, what you agree and what you disagree with it?
 

Cait Sith

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Does anyone here have anything more to say about this post of mine, what you agree and what you disagree with it?
I don't think Whoscored is overly reliable for a CM.

Xavi receives the ball from the centerbacks, is pressed hard, makes a pirouette to evade the pressure, advances the play by playing the ball forward between the lines to Messi, defenders pull out towards Messi, Alves starts a run, Messi passes back to Xavi, Xavi pings it over the top to Alves, Alves plays it sideways, Pedro shoots, goalkeeper saves.

Key Pass: Alves
Xavi: Nothing

That's how Whoscored metrics works. "Key pass" = "pass leading to a shot".

But even then it's unbelievable that an all-controlling central midfielder who starts to playmake from his own half also created as many chances as the best #10s in the world (and also all time) like Messi.

As a comparison, Modric's (arguably best CM post Xavi/Iniesta era) best "key pass" statistic over a whole season is 1.9 per game. Also never got more than 6 assists. You just criticized Xavi for going down from 3.2 key passes in 09/10 to 2.5 key passes in 10/11 which still dwarves Modric's best season by 30 %.

I don't remember any central midfielder in at least 20 years who was controlling the game through every minute but also got world class assists in 2 CL finals and 2 European Championship finals. There is usually the "controllers" like Pirlo or the chance creation machines like De Bruyne. Not both at once.
 

KirkDuyt

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And Zidane played with Thuram, Makelele, Henry, Trezeguet, Lizarazu, Deschamps and many more. He didn't win it singlehandedly but also had very, very good team mates. So yeah, I do think Xavi and Iniesta each had a greater impact on their national team than Zidane.



That's from the Spanish national team's wikipedia site. So yeah, I'd say it's quite commonly agreed on that they are among the very best if not the best national team in history. I mean, they essentially did what Cruyff's total football team couldn't do, and they did thrice in a row. And that Dutch team is probably Spain's strongest contendor in this discussion. Other teams maybe the Hungarian team from 1954, Pele's Brazil, Zico's Brazil and possibly Germany 1974. I don't think any of them were better than Spain 2008-2012.
2010 Spain was nothing like Totaalvoetbal. Boring endless possession and winning every match with 1-0 is no wear near the same achievement. We demolished the opposition in 74. Granted we fecked up in the final, but that Spanish team are the most overrated bunch of twats in the history of sports.

Yes, I do like hyperbole.

And yes, I'm still mad over losing to them in the final.
 

Pink Moon

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Pirlo is in the first tier. Best long passer ever and crazy game vision. A genius, at least one of the 10 or 5 best italian players ever. Probably the best playmaker of all time. Pure class
There's been 4 players at Barca alone all better than him in that department (Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Laudrup)

Pirlo was an excellent player but he became seriously overrated after that game against England in either the 2012 Euro's or 2014 World Cup.
 

Tostao_80

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To be the best you need an arrogant ego bigger than a mountain. And please don't mention Messi: he's not humble. Bragging and arrogant are not necessarily similar concepts.

And for the record, I think Scholes was better than/more similar to Iniesta. Xavi a different kind of MF (pacing,possession,passing).
Scholes better than Iniesta? The most laughable post of the day. Iniesta is regarded as one of the best European midfielders of the last 3 years. Nobody talks about Scholes in the same vein. What was he doing for England, when Andres was scoring a WC winning goal?
 

Casanova85

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Scholes better than Iniesta? The most laughable post of the day. Iniesta is regarded as one of the best European midfielders of the last 3 years. Nobody talks about Scholes in the same vein. What was he doing for England, when Andres was scoring a WC winning goal?
Sorry, but NT football is not the gold standard for me.

And I just said Scholes was better than Iniesta, not miles better.
 

Casanova85

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2010 Spain was nothing like Totaalvoetbal. Boring endless possession and winning every match with 1-0 is no wear near the same achievement. We demolished the opposition in 74. Granted we fecked up in the final, but that Spanish team are the most overrated bunch of twats in the history of sports.
l.
Christ, a dutchman still salty about 2010. Cruyff himself hated Netherlands 2010.
 

KirkDuyt

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Christ, a dutchman still salty about 2010. Cruyff himself hated Netherlands 2010.
Of course he did, can't have him admit they equalled his own achievement by making the final.

Cruijff was an amazing player, but also a self important twat. Not everything the man says is gospel. Well, unless you live in Amsterdam of course.
 

giorno

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I don't remember any central midfielder in at least 20 years who was controlling the game through every minute but also got world class assists in 2 CL finals and 2 European Championship finals. There is usually the "controllers" like Pirlo or the chance creation machines like De Bruyne. Not both at once.
Pirlo and Xavi are remarkably similar actually, only real significant difference is Xavi was quicker and more dynamic, a better presser, and played on teams that emphasized control through possession
 

matbezlima

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I don't think Whoscored is overly reliable for a CM.

Xavi receives the ball from the centerbacks, is pressed hard, makes a pirouette to evade the pressure, advances the play by playing the ball forward between the lines to Messi, defenders pull out towards Messi, Alves starts a run, Messi passes back to Xavi, Xavi pings it over the top to Alves, Alves plays it sideways, Pedro shoots, goalkeeper saves.

Key Pass: Alves
Xavi: Nothing

That's how Whoscored metrics works. "Key pass" = "pass leading to a shot".

But even then it's unbelievable that an all-controlling central midfielder who starts to playmake from his own half also created as many chances as the best #10s in the world (and also all time) like Messi.

As a comparison, Modric's (arguably best CM post Xavi/Iniesta era) best "key pass" statistic over a whole season is 1.9 per game. Also never got more than 6 assists. You just criticized Xavi for going down from 3.2 key passes in 09/10 to 2.5 key passes in 10/11 which still dwarves Modric's best season by 30 %.

I don't remember any central midfielder in at least 20 years who was controlling the game through every minute but also got world class assists in 2 CL finals and 2 European Championship finals. There is usually the "controllers" like Pirlo or the chance creation machines like De Bruyne. Not both at once.
Fantastic answer! Thanks!