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Xavi reaches Barcelona milestone

  • Reuters, Sunday, January 2, 2011 8:03 PM

Xavi, who last summer celebrated the World Cup title with Spain, tied the Barcelona record for appearances when he played his 549th game for the club in its 2-1 La Liga victory over Levante on Sunday. Xavi equals the club mark set by Migueli during the 1980s.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said, “What he has achieved is of gigantic proportions. I played 300 games, which I thought was a huge amount. Migueli played 549 and retired age 38. Xavi has already played these 549 games and he is only 30, and has survived an operation on a cruciate ligament. It wouldn’t surprise me if he reached 700 games.”

Xavi, who was joined by Migueli in the center circle at the Camp Nou, said, "I’m very proud to be able to wear this shirt and to match a Barcelona legend like Migueli. I want to continue defending these colors with all my heart and soul, and to win more titles. I am very pleased.”

Xavi joined Barcelona at age 11 in 1991 and made his first-team debut against Real Mallorca in the 1998 Spanish Super Cup. He has now played 367 league matches and 110 Champions League games, winning five La Liga titles and two European Cups. Migueli, a defender, made his debut in 1973 and retired 16 seasons later.

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