Football

Xavi - will he ever be replaced?

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Barcelona rolled out the red carpet at Nou Camp last weekend, and rightly so.

One of their finest ever exponents was about to play his final league match for the Catalans after a stellar 17-year career playing at the very top.

As Xavi led his Barca colleagues out onto the pitch, he was greeted by a mosaic normally reserved for the visits of Real Madrid or important Champions League games.

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Bathed in Blaugrana, Camp Nou looked quite a sight and then a huge two-tier banner was unfurled.

"Gracies Xavi," it read. Simple, respectful, genuine and just the right tone. Much like how Xavi used to set himself on a football pitch.

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One of a kind

Xavi is truly one of a kind, the kind who garners respect wherever he plays.

Even though he had lost a yard of pace during this final season, the fact remained that he was still able to conduct the Blaugrana orchestra with ease whenever he set foot on the pitch.

This was never better evidenced when he came on late on the day of the second El Clasico of the season.

In the short space of time he was on the pitch, he had more touches and was more involved than Madrid's Gareth Bale who had played for the entirety of the game.

Similarly against Paris Saint-Germain, when entering as substitute, he had outstripped the entire French side. Remarkable but unsurprising.

Pass, pass, pass

For this is a player that has passed the ball more than 25,000 times during his career. If that doesn't astonish, then consider that Xavi has a 92 percent passing accuracy across his career and you get some sort of idea as to why he us held in such high esteem.

Spain and Barcelona's style over this golden period of the last few years has been authored by Xavi.

Of course, the right team around him has been a necessity but there can be little doubt that the maestro has been the organiser supreme. The conduit through which everything flows.

Alongside Andres Iniesta, the football at both international and domestic level has been almost poetic at times.

Historic

His final game at club level will be the Champions League Final in Berlin. By then we will know if Barca are competing for the treble.

No club in football history has ever won the European treble twice and to do so would put Barca out on their own in that regard. It would be the most fitting end to Xavi's career.

Already the most successful Barca player ever, he can become the most decorated player in Spanish football history, overtaking Real Madrid's Gento if the Catalans can acquire more silverware in 2014/15.

Regarding the initial question, can Xavi be replaced? Absolutely not. He is a once in a generation player, maybe even once in a lifetime.

Thank you, Xavi.

Let us know who you think Xavi's replacement will be!

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Topics:
Football
La Liga
Lionel Messi
Luis Suarez
Neymar
Barcelona

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