In a last minute U-turn, Luis Enrique managed to convince Xavi shun a lucrative move to the MLS and stay in Spain, and it could be one of the best pieces of business Barcelona have done this summer.
A familiar face
With experienced members of the squad such as Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol leaving the club, Xavi’s experience and wisdom is invaluable.
Barcelona’s starting XI will be remarkably different this season, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jeremy Mathieu, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez all likely to feature. During this period of change,it is important to keep players that know the club well around.
A player that embodies the core values of a Barcelona player, someone well versed in how to play like a Barcelona player and how to act like a Barcelona player. In short, Barcelona is a part of Xavi’s DNA.
Rafinha Alcantara and Sergi Roberto are likely to make a big splash at Barcelona next season, and can benefit greatly from the 34-year-old’s experience. He could take the two under his wing and tutor them off and on the pitch, ensuring the future of Barcelona is bright.
Off the pitch, the 34-year-old is another voice in the dressing room; a leader on and off the pitch, regardless of whether he wears the armband.
He could potentially follow the footsteps of Pep Guardiola and one day become Barcelona manager.
Still one of the best
It is no secret that Xavi is past his prime. The Spaniard’s influence in the final third has waned scoring 3 goals and assisting only twice during his 30 La Liga appearances last season.
Xavi may have endured a lacklustre season, compounded by the ignominy of their disappointing World Cup campaign. But on his day the maestro is still capable of picking out any pass with his incredible vision and ball control. There are very few in the world able to control a match and dictate tempo the way he does.
AC Milan paid the price for letting Andrea Pirlo, who was seemingly ‘past it’, leave for Juventus on a free transfer, with the veteran Italian playing a key part in Juve’s recent title success.
As the old cliché goes, form is temporary, class is permanent, and Xavi has class in abundance.
Andres Iniesta, who is set to take over as Barcelona captain, has expressed his delight at the fact that the many he has spent his entire career playing alongside will remain at the club.
“It doesn’t change anything because he’s who we’ve been with all these seasons,” Iniesta said, according to Sport.
“He’s with us and therefore he’s still a Barca player. It’s the best news.
“When a player is at a club for so long and is so important for so long, it’s rare and not common. It’s one of the best pieces of news of the summer for us.”
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