|Born||Jan 25, 1980|
A legendary midfielder who was at the heart of Barcelona's success, Xavi has now returned to Catalonia to take charge of his former side as manager.
Xavi is a Spanish soccer manager who currently manages FC Barcelona in Spain.
After progressing through the La Masia youth academy and then representing the club as a senior player for 17 years, Xavi returned in 2021 to take charge of the club as manager.
The Spaniard enjoyed an unbelievable playing career, winning eight league titles and four Champions Leagues in the red and blue of Barcelona, while also lifting the World Cup with Spain in 2010 as well as two European Championships.
His playing style heavily centred around quick passing and movement, an art he and midfield partner Iniesta managed to perfect. Now as a manager, Xavi instructs his sides to play a similar style that proved so successful during his playing days.
La Masia progression and Barcelona breakthrough
After being scouted from his local Terrassa side, Xavi entered Barcelona's iconic La Masia academy in 1991, aged just 11.
The Spaniard spent six years in the academy, where he was coached to adapt to Barcelona's silky style of play. Despite lacking height and physique, Xavi made up for his physical deficiencies through his passing and ability to read the game.
In 1997, Xavi was promoted to the Barcelona B side, where he quickly became a crucial figure as they earned promotion to the Spanish Second Division.
After just a season with the Barcelona B squad, Xavi was given his chance in the first team, first making his debut in the Copa Catalunya before appearing in a La Liga match against Valencia.
Xavi still regularly featured for youth sides, but was also seeing more and more opportunities with the first team. In the 1998/99 season he managed to make 26 appearances as Barcelona won the league, while also being crowned as La Liga's Breakthrough Player of the Season.
In the following 1999/00 season, Xavi saw another step up in responsibility, and was required to fill in for an injured Pep Guardiola in Louis van Gaal's side.
Guardiola then left Barcelona in 2001, allowing Xavi to nail down a place in the starting XI. He did just that, and went on to become the club's vice captain in 2004, as Barcelona won La Liga again.
Thriving under Pep Guardiola
Barcelona won the title again in 2005/06 to give Xavi three La Liga trophies by the age of 26. However, the appointment of Guardiola in 2008 propelled the club to a new level of success, and Xavi was at the heart of his plans.
Guardiola replaced Frank Rijkaard at Camp Nou and managed to convince Xavi to stay at the club despite interest from Bayern Munich.
His decision was a good one. In Guardiola's first season in charge, Barcelona won the treble - La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
In a remarkable season, Xavi produced 29 assists across all competitions, and as a result was named the UEFA Champions League best midfielder. It turned out to be the start of a period of domination by Barca.
In his four years under Guardiola, Xavi won two more league titles, another Champions League in 2010/11, as well as four further domestic trophies.
A fitting goodbye
In the 2012/13 season, Xavi added another league title to his ever-growing trophy list, but there was no denying he was entering his twilight years.
A managerial merry-go-round saw Barcelona initially struggle to replicate Guardiola's impact, but they eventually settled with Luis Enrique in 2014.
Under his compatriot, Xavi showed his class despite being 34 years old. Barcelona achieve another treble, allowing Xavi to lift La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League in his final season.
In the Champions League final, Xavi came off the bench in the 78th minute to make his 767th - and final - Barcelona appearance. At the time it was a club appearance record, although it has since been topped by Lionel Messi.
Success with Spain
Alongside his spectacular club career, Xavi also enjoyed plenty of success on the international stage with Spain. He first appeared for his nation in the 2000 Olympics, where his performances earned him a place in the 2002 World Cup.
Xavi's standout performances saw him earn the Euro 2008 Player of the Tournament.
Alongside many of his Barcelona team-mates, Spain continued to dominate internationally. They went on to win the following World Cup in 2010, beating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final courtesy of an Andres Iniesta goal.
But Vicente Del Bosque's team was still not done there. They went on to defend their European Championship title in 2012. The final against Italy showed a gulf of class between the two sides, with Spain going on to beat them 4-0 in Kyiv.
Management in Qatar and taking charge of Barcelona
After leaving Barcelona in 2015, Xavi moved to Al Sadd - A Qatar-based club - where he went on to play for a further four seasons.
However, after hanging up his boots for good in 2019, the Spanish legend wasted no time in entering management, and took charge of the side as manager the following season.
His impact was immediate, and he won seven trophies in charge of the club, including the league title in 2020/21.
In the 2021/22 season, Al Sadd raced to the top of the league under Xavi.
However, with Barcelona struggling to perform under Ronald Koeman, Xavi decided to leave the club midway through the season to rejoin his former side as manager.
He was announced as Barca boss in November 2021, taking over with the club ninth in the table.
Since 2013, Xavi has been married to Nuria Cunillera. The couple have a daughter named Asia, who was born in 2016.
Xavi's father, Joaquim Hernandez, was also a professional soccer player and plied his trade in the Spanish First Division for Sabadell.
As a child, Xavi said he was inspired by Pep Guardiola's play style at Barcelona, but also notes that he and his family were admirers of the English game and idolised the likes of John Barnes, Matt Le Tissier and Paul Gascoigne.
According to celebritynetworth.com, Xavi's net worth is estimated to be $40million, while his salary is now said to be $12million.
- Jan 26, 2023
- Jan 11, 2023