If anyone deserves to be credited with the tag as world’s greatest player it’s Xavi Hernandez.
The Catalonian has had an unbelievable year with his club Barcelona as they retained their La Liga crown as well as cementing his name in the history of Spanish folklore along with his peers as the country finally captured a long overdue FIFA World Cup in the summer.
Xavi was predominant on all fronts last term, his involvement for both club and country was catalyst like as he dictated the momentum of his teams play with his articulate passing and hawk like vision. There is no doubt the man is a phenomenon in his position. The way he has developed in the last five years into arguably the greatest central midfielder on the planet is remarkable. He is blessed with technical attributes in abundance as well as having the ability to bring out the very best in others with his diligent service of passing.
He isn’t one who revels in the limelight as a superstar but there is no doubt he is a footballing genius. He is comparable to Paul Scholes at Manchester United who is renowned for his trademark cross field passes along with his ability to press forward and score a goal or two. Xaxi is almost a carbon-copy of the English veteran whose loyalty to his beloved Barcelona is comparable to that of Paul’s with The Red Devils.
There is no denying that his Barca teammate Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer on the planet – and of his generation. That can’t be disputed but in terms of influence and contribution this calendar year Xavi has quietly gone about his business yet produced some startling performances that have contributed to grave success both domestically and internationally.
His performances in South Africa during the World Cup were outstanding. He was a catalyst in the midfield that always looked to create a sparkling piece of genius whilst in possession. Amazingly he averaged around 94 passes per game on route to the final – more than other player in the tournament. You must admire the man’s awareness. He never stops moving, always looking up, pondering that killer pass to slice a defensive back line in two. Of course he is blessed with world class talent around him but they will argue they are far less inferior without Xavi in their team pulling the strings.
The only blemish of his season was his clubs failure to overcome a stubborn Internzaionale and make it to the UEFA Champions League Final. Jose Mourinho oiled a well run machine with his Inter team back in May and even Xavi along with Lionel Messi and company couldn’t break down a resolute Serie A outfit. Even so despite the 3-2 aggregate defeat it was Barcelona’s play that was fluidly running through Xavi’s improvisation in the middle of the park.
A Spanish player has never won the FIFA World Player of the Year but there’s every chance they may have the inaugural claim to the FIFA Ballon d’Or as Xavi is joined by his compatriot Andres Iniesta on the shortlist along with their Barca teammate Lionel Messi. All three have a strong case to claim the prize next month but in my humble opinion, Mr Hernandez fully deserves it.