Xavi has tipped Sergio Busquets to become the new captain of FC Barcelona after he leaves the Camp Nou this summer.
Busquets is “destined to be the team’s leader for the next decade” according to Xavi, the current Barcelona skipper who will play his final match for his boyhood club this weekend.
Despite spending 17 seasons with Barcelona, Xavi - who many believe will coach the Catalan giants in the future - only captained the Champions League finalists for one campaign. He took over from Carles Puyol last summer, but will join Qatari outfit Al Sadd next month.
"I've got a soft spot for Busquets in every respect," Xavi told UEFA's official website. "He's a close friend and I think he's the player with the best understanding of football, both in attack and in defence, in the world. His game intelligence on the pitch is a wonder.
"And off it, I don't know anyone else whom I have the same affinity with. I think he's my natural replacement in the dressing room and on the pitch. He's destined to be the leader for Barcelona for the next decade, without a shadow of a doubt."
Three contenders to replace Xavi
Busquets is likely to be one of the leading candidates to succeed Xavi as Barcelona’s captain, along with Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.
Iniesta and Messi were appointed as second and third captains of Barcelona, respectively, with Busquets in fourth place.
However, Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique may listen to the advice of Xavi and hand the armband directly to Busquets, who is one of the club’s most underrated players outside of the Camp Nou.
Busquets’ teammates know just how pivotal he is to Barcelona’s style of play - so much goes though the 26-year-old, who rarely wastes possession and will often make the game look so easy.
Iniesta the favourite
But Iniesta, 31, may get the nod due to the amount of time spent in the Barcelona first team, his status in the game and the sheer amount of success he has enjoyed for club and country over the past decade.
Messi would be an interesting choice; the four-time Ballon d’Or winner has captained the Argentina national team for several years now and has become a more vocal figure on the pitch in recent times.
But Enrique might be reluctant to hand Messi the armband if he feels it might act as an unnecessary distraction to the world’s best footballer.
Barcelona fans: who should replace the legendary Xavi as club captain this summer? Have your say in the comments below!