Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Xavi: So good you can hear it
by Mike Woitalla, July 9th, 2010 11:46PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  spain, world cup

MOST COMMENTED

[PORTRAIT] Xavi, Spain’s 30-year-old midfield maestro, has played with just one club, Barcelona, since age 11. His memory of one youth coach helps explain the smooth passing style of Spain's World Cup team, which is stocked with products of Barca's youth program.

Coach Carles Rexach stood with his back to the field and applauded the young Barca boys. They yelled back, “Sir, you can’t even see us!”

“But I hear the ball, and that’s why I know that it’s moving well,” Rexach responded.

Xavi leads Spain’s group of highly skillful midfield passers who came out of the Barcelona youth academy: Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Pedro. (Central defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique also came out of la cantera.)

Their swift combination play kept the Germans chasing shadows in Spain’s 1-0 semifinal win. Xavi, despite being on the ball more than any other player, is so quick and clever, he can’t even be stopped by foul play. Only 10 times has an opponent taken him down in six games at the World Cup.

“I don’t get fouled much,” said the 5-foot-7 Xavi, who despite doing a fair amount of defensive work has committed only one foul in this World Cup.

“I’m always thinking about how we can play, which teammate is open, and if I should play a ball to his feet or send it into his path.”

In six games at this World Cup, Xavi has passed the ball 570 times – a tournament high -- and has completed 81 percent of those passes. Some of his passes are first-touch deliveries. But he often spins away from or dodges opponents when the pressure’s on, and uses every part of his foot to strike accurately.

His corner kick set up Puyol’s game-winning goal against Germany.

Xavi still lives in his hometown of Terrassa, a city of 200,000 that lies 15 miles from Barcelona, with a his dog, named “Tiro,” which means “shot.” He reportedly owns no computer nor has an e-mail address. His focus is always on soccer.

At age 18, he debuted for Barcelona’s first team. He subbed in for injured Pep Guardiola during the 1999-2000 season, and he proved himself a worthy successor for the stylish playmaker, who is Barcelona’s current coach. Xavi also succeeded Guardiola as Barcelona and Spain captain.

Xavi has played more than 500 games for Barcelona and has celebrated five La Liga titles and two UEFA Champion League crowns. In 2009, Barcelona won a record six titles: La Liga, Spanish Cup, Spanish Super Cup, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

In 2008, Xavi was the Golden Ball MVP of Euro 2008, Spain’s only major title since winning the 1964 European Championship.

On Sunday, he aims to lead Spain to its first World Cup title.



4 comments
  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: July 10, 2010 at 8:04 a.m.
    Xavi is the world's best player. Without him, where is Spain, where is Barca and where is Messi? True class, does not foul, does not flop. Pure complete player.
  1. Andres Yturralde
    commented on: July 10, 2010 at 9:54 a.m.
    Good stuff, Mike. Always wanted to know a little bit more about Xavi himself. Thank you!
  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: July 10, 2010 at 12:05 p.m.
    Excellent article.
  1. Olivier Lurz
    commented on: July 10, 2010 at 1:58 p.m.
    He is the best player in the world. He makes everything look so easy and effortless. A true joy to watch.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Red Bulls get defensive held with Collin    
In need of help at center back, where it lost Matt Miazga, sold to Chelsea, and ...
MLS Week 9: Results and standings    
The New York Red Bulls' attack came alive with four goals as they trounced FC Dallas, ...
NWSL: Reign's Fishlock sidelined with fractured tibia    
Jess Fishlock, an NWSL Best XI pick in each of her three seasons with the Seattle ...
MLS Week 9: Weekend schedule    
One of five Saturday afternoon matches features the Montreal Impact, first in the Eastern Conference, against ...
Soccer gets new Vegas pitchman: David Beckham    
A surprise pitchman at Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis' Thursday meeting with Las Vegas government officials ...
MLS Countdown: FC Dallas looks to rebound quickly    
FC Dallas, which plays at the New York Red Bulls in a battle of 2015 conference ...
Alex Morgan flexes her social media muscle    
If U.S. women's national team players want to show off their clout to make their case ...
What They're Saying: Seattle Sounders sports scientist Dave Tenney    
"One of the biggest red flags we have is guys that have kids. Almost across the ...
U.S. U-19 men fall to Slovakia on the way to final    
The Brad Friedel-coached U.S. U-19 men's national team, having already clinched a spot in the Slovakia ...
Video Pick: Dog invades field, kisses player    
The hound who ran onto the field during a Copa Libertadores game seemed especially happy to ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives