Thursday, August 28, 2008
Earlier today, goal.com announced that Barcelona would be offering midfielder Xavi Hernández a lifetime contract. Due to the terms of the deal, Xavi has the option to play for as long as physically possible, while maintaining the same pay packet he will start in the next few days. This unprecedented move shows the faith that the Catalunyan club have in the midfield maestro, and their willingness to reward him is refreshing in this day and age.
Xavi has been a devoted servant to Barcelona since he arrived at the Camp Nou at age 11. Born in Terrassa, a city in Catalunya, Xavi had Barça in his blood. He moved quickly through the Blaugrana youth teams, finally making his first team debut in Barcelona's Super Cup final loss on August 18, snatching a goal in the process. He went on to cement his place in the Barcelona squad under Louis Van Gaal's stewardship, helping his team to the Spanish Primera Liga title.
An ever-present fixture in the Barcelona side for 10 years, Xavi's presence often goes unnoticed on the pitch. He lacks the charisma and eye-catching tricks of Ronaldinho and the heart-in-mouth heroics and clown hair of his compatriot Carles "Tarzan" Puyol. However, Xavi is the quietly ticking mechanism inside a beautiful Cartier watch. While most admire the jewels that bedazzle the face of the watch, the true connoisseurs understand it is the internal movement that makes the whole thing possible.
Xavi's ability to quietly dominate a match by directing the pace and flow of the play is almost unparalled in today's game. His lack of height (he stands 5'7") and physical presence is a non-issue due to his precise positioning and impeccable timing. In addition, his technical and tactical acumen is often unnoticed due to the demure mechanical efficiency with which he goes about his business. Nearly every single possession starts at the feet of the miniscule midfield master. No pass is wasted, no situation seems out of his reach and his facial expression betrays nothing but extreme relaxation coupled with utter concentration.
Xavi's brilliant talents were finally recognized officially after this summer's European Championship in which he led Spain to victory, being named Best Player in the process. Now it seems that his beloved club has followed suit in handing him an assured financial and footballing future on a silver platter.
Posted by A West at 9:00 AM