Barcelona won't be the same team without Xavi Hernandez, fears fellow midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

The Spaniard paid tribute to his 32-year-old compatriot after the veteran's match-winning introduction in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Granada in La Liga.

Tito Vilanova's side were struggling to overcome their opponents until Xavi came off the bench to score the opener with just three minutes left on the clock, prompting Fabregas to heap praise on his team-mate, whom he says will be irreplaceable at Camp Nou.

"I cannot imagine Barca without Xavi," the former Arsenal star confessed to reporters after the match. "Someday he will [no longer be here] as with all players ever but he is a fantastic player.

"He has spent decades here at the club and is the most capped player in the club's history."

Although Barcelona didn't make the league clash easy on themselves - with a late own-goal swelling the scoreline in stoppage time - Fabregas insists the team are pleased with their early season form.


"It was difficult to defend well," he added. "We finished the game with professionalism and with patience, and we are very happy.

"We have struggled a little bit in some games, but the feelings are good."

Barcelona are currently top of the table with a maximum return of 15 points from there first five games - four clear of Mallorca in second place. Meanwhile, reigning champions Real Madrid currently occupy 17th place, with four points from four games.

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