Xavi Hernández never won the Ballon d'Or, but he has been a key piece in the decade-long dominance of F.C.Barcelona in Spanish and international football. He was also one of the key figures in South Africa, in the only World Cup won by Spain.
Barça's captain is leaving his beloved club and will end his career in Qatar. This is no ordinary footballer. Xavi has completed more passes than any other player in the world over the last 10 years. In fact, over 25,000 passes have been delivered with an astonishing average of 92 per cent accuracy. Even in his final season at Barcelona, he still trumped many of his teammates who played on a more regular basis. After 17 seasons at the top of the European tree, after this season's Champions' League final, Xavi is the competition's all-time appearance record holder. He is already way out in front of his Barcelona colleagues in club appearance terms and it is doubtful his statisticss for the blaugrana club in that regard will ever be beaten. His final league game against Deportivo was his 505th for Barcelona and, when you add Copa del Rey and Champions' League appearances to that figure, he has surpassed 750 games for his club. Throw in his international appearances and this takes him to 900 games for Barça and Spain.
A packed Camp Nou celebrated Xavi's contribution to the club's history, and his teammates, sporting white T-shirts with the number 6 in the back, paid homage to their capitan. Many believe that Xavi will eventually return to Barça as a coach, to begin a new episode in his legend. We can't wait to see that happen!