6 of the Best Moments of Xavi Hernandez’s Career

Xavi Hernandez is number 35 in 90min’s Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series

?As Spain and Barcelona dominated international and domestic football over a stunning four year period, Xavi Hernandez was the beating heart of both record breaking sides.

Blessed with some of the most fabulous passing, vision and intelligence the game has ever seen, the diminutive midfielder was the man that made these teams of superstars tick.

Buckle in for a trip down memory lane, as 90min revisit the highlights of Xavi’s career.

Euro 2008

Spanish midfielder Xavi Hernandez celebr

Spain went into Euro 2008 as one of football’s sleeping giants, having underperformed ?on the international stage for nearly half a century.

But at Euro 2008, everything clicked, as Luis Aragonés’ side won their first major tournament in 44 years. Xavi was influential to their triumph, typifying Spain’s attractive style of play with his ability to simultaneously do the simple and the spectacular.

The midfielder found the net in Spain’s semi final victory over Russia, before slotting the ball through to Fernando Torres to score the winner against Germany in the final. Xavi was rewarded for his fine performances in Austria and Switzerland as he was named Player of the Tournament.

Barcelona’s 2008/09 Treble

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez (top) celebra

In Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in charge at Camp Nou, Barcelona Tika-Taka-ed their way to the treble. Xavi missed just one La Liga game, and topped the league’s assists charts, as he set up 22 league goals – and a further seven in the Champions League.

In a crucial game in the title race, Barcelona travelled to the Bernabeu and ran out 6-2 winners, Xavi recording an outrageous four assists. 

Barcelona were tantalisingly close to the treble when they travelled to Rome to face defending European champions Manchester United. But Pep Guardiola’s side passed United off the park, and Xavi provided the assist for Lionel Messi’s famous towering header to seal the 2-0 victory and round off a record breaking campaign.

2010 World Cup

Spain's midfielder Xavi (L) and Spain's

Spain slumped to a shock defeat in their opening group game of the 2010 World Cup, but recovered in emphatic style. ?

Xavi turned in man of the match performances in the last 16 and semi-finals. During Spain’s last 16 victory over Portugal, the diminutive midfielder set up David Villa for Spain’s winner with a deft back heel. In the semi finals, his corner was headed home by Carles Puyol to book Spain’s place in the World Cup final.

Spain’s World Cup triumph was not one of individual brilliance, but one of a team of talented individuals playing as a collective. Xavi was the man in midfield who bound this team of world class players together to make them world beaters.

2011 Champions League Final

Champions League - FC Barcelona

Barcelona won their second Champions League title in the space of three years, as they defeated Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United once more. Xavi put in a masterful performance, covering the most kilometres of any player on the pitch (11.95) and completing the most passes (148 – the highest in Champions League all season)? with a staggering 95% success rate.

Xavi only misplaced seven passes all game. Imagine being that composed on the biggest stage of all.

Barcelona won the game with 69% of possession and with a 90% pass completion rate. It’s pretty clear just how instrumental Xavi was to the Catalan side’s victory.

2012 European Championships

Sergio Busquets,Xavi Hernandez

Spain passed their way to a third straight international title at the 2012 European Championships, with Xavi the pulse of the team once more, dictating the tempo and breaking records in his penultimate major tournament of his career.

In the group stages against Ireland, Xavi completed 133 passes, the most passes ever made in a European Championship match. Combined, Xavi and Iniesta completed more passes than the entire Ireland team. Poor Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews could not get near the dynamic duo.

Spain turned on the style in the final against Italy, as they ran out 4-0 winners. Xavi set up two goals to become the first player to record two assists in a European Championship final.

Champions League Record Breaker?


During Barcelona’s Champions League quarter final against PSG, Xavi played 96 passes, and all 96 found their target. This made the Barcelona midfielder the first player in Champions League history to have a 100% pass completion rate.

“Nobody’s perfect.” – Jessie J (2011), Hannah Montana (2007).

For 90 minutes on 13 April 2013, Xavi was.