26 January 2012

Top 50 Players in the World 2011: #3 Xavi

3 Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona & Spain (2nd – 2522 points)

Xavi Hernández passed a landmark recently at the Camp Nou against Real Betis, reaching his 400th league appearance in the blaugrana’s colours. The La Masia graduate marked the occasion by netting the opening goal, just as he had in that epoch-defining 5-0 victory over Real Madrid in 2010. But of course, this diminutive technician has made his name further back the field, creating chances for others and setting the tone. His ability to construct allied to his rare spatial awareness has seen him singled out not just as the architect of one of the greatest club sides of all time, but that of arguably one of the best international ones too.
In the past calendar year, the Terrassa native added a handsome five winners medals to an already impressive collection; only an extra-time winner from Cristiano Ronaldo in April’s Copa del Rey decider at the Mestalla saw him and Barcelona fail to match their record breaking six trophy haul of 2009. Once again, Xavi was instrumental in this, fundamental; many would argue to the extent that he personifies this Barcelona side to a greater degree than any of his fellow players. Even Lionel Messi; and even a Spain side built around his Barcelona colleagues but deprived of the Argentine’s brilliance have proved just as much standard bearers at their level. What there can be disputing is that neither of those sides would be the same without Xavi’s ingenuity.....................
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