Xavi Hernández - a Robocop at your service
Big ass pic but no one is complaining, si?
cleverly written by Dariusz Wołowski.
Missing out against Mallorca and two Spain international meetings Xavi has reminded the world that even a Robocop can sometimes have health problems. Ballon D'Or candidate has played in record breaking 287 games in 4 years missing out only one Champions League game during that period !
2nd of December 2005 looked like a normal day in 'La Masia'. During training, without contact with an opponent Xavi has torn his cross ligaments when his foot got stuck in wet grass. Career of the 26 year old playmaker was put under question mark, 24 hours later he went through an operation. He returned on 27th of April and in Champions League final at Saint Dennis in Paris he could sit on the bench looking at his Barca teammates turning the situation around against Arsenal.
Comparing to Zizou he was a helpless midget
Few weeks later Xavi was selected for Spanish squad to go to 2006 World Cup in Germany where traditionally in 1/8s he would play through another humiliating loss (1:3 against France). Who was he compared to Zidane ? A helpless midget without dribbling and shot from distance abilities who scores a goal once for 25 matches. For Barcelona playmaker it was a third loss in a row in a large-scale tournament - a painful, but crucial moment when he decided to start his sport life all over again.
Xavi admits that precision is his obsession, every kick which causes a turnover makes him go wild even causing physical pain. His motto is simple: "Look up and choose the best option possible before you take control of the ball".
89% passes made !
'Computer' - it's one of Xavi's numerous nicknames tightly bonded to his gameplay. When during Euro 2008 he led Spain to gold medal, he has made 89% of his passes. He made 254 of them, one of them to Fernando Torres who scored a winning goal against Germany in the final. Not too long after that Andy Roxburgh announced that UEFA chose him a no. 1 player of the tournament in Austria and Switzerland.
Xavi also has a different nickname - 'Humphrey Bogart' because of his looks. Incredible strength rests in his frail body (170cm in height). It's not just about mental strength allowing him to focus over 90 minutes of the game. When you analyse Xavi's statistics for Barcelona and Spain, he is the one who runs the most. Since his terrible injury he ran through 287 games having only 6 minor injuries, all of them put together caused him to miss out on just 7 weeks!
Over 4 years he missed out only one Champions League game
Average data of his last 4 seasons is: 5.375 matches per month, 64.5 per year, 22,000 minutes of games and always being the centerpiece. Over this time Barca has played 152 league games, Xavi has played in 139 of them keeping his Swiss-watch regularity (35 matches, 35, 35 and 34). In Champions League he missed out one game out of 43, against Stuttgart in 1/8s. He also played in 22 games in Copa Del Rey, 4 in Spanish Super Cup, 2 in European Super Cup, 4 in World Club Championship and 45 out of 49 Spain international meetings. To sum up he played 259 games in 48 months.
He got used to pain, often came out on the pitch feeling it. Towards the end of last season all of Spain was indignant towards Pep Guardiola's decision of risking the leader's health before 2010 World Cup. Barcelona was fighting for a title with Real Madrid to the last match and Xavi had to play, even if it took jumping on one foot. He had serious problems with the muscle causing danger of tearing it and a long-term injury.
Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque 'got Guardiola back' just after winning the World Cup by selecting Xavi to play in a friendly against Mexico just after he returned from vacation. Barca playmaker came out on Estadio Azteca without one normal training and with one genius pass to David Silva he saved the champions from loss. Del Bosque didn't let Xavi off against Argentina as well where he selected him to go out there when Spain was losing 0:3.
Achilles tendons like balloons, playing on Euro being 'a neverending orgasm'
Right at the beginning of the season there was a danger of serious injury. Player felt excruciating pain in both legs. After the match in Kazan in Champions League, he called Del Bosque himself to tell him that he can't take it anymore. "His achilles' tendons looked like balloons, a step from tearing them and saying goodbye to the season" - Xavi's father said.
Reflection came on time, but when the coach didn't select him to play in Euro 2012 qualifying matches against Lithuania and Scotland, Guardiola was still puzzled and didn't know whether he should select him to play against Mallorca. Finally, he gave it up and Barca lost points at Camp Nou without their leader.
To some extent, Xavi has only himself to blame, because he doesn't have ability to rest. Squad rotations are not in his interests, he is more greedy for minutes than 23 year old Leo Messi. "Playing on Euro was like a neverending orgasm to me" - he said at some point not paying attention to his words. Journalists didn't let him off these words until he explained he meant it strictly football-wise. After that there were neverending emotions in Barcelona who has won 8 out of 10 trophies between 2008-2010 and RSA World Cup for dessert where Xavi and the whole Spanish football society cured themselves from underachieving complexes.
Mother threatened his father when he was sending Xavi to Milan
At the start he dreamed of being a striker. He thought he is fast, but when he was 11 and got into La Masia, all of the boys training there turned out to be much faster than him. He had to accept the role of a playmaker which is held in very high regards in Barcelona. He recalls Carlos Rexach turning his face away from the pitch to praise or criticise them later on. "Coach, you've never seen it" - surprised Xavi used to say. Rexach then used to reply that he knew what the play looked like because he was listening out to the ball bouncing around on the pitch.
The worst moment in his career was the day when Louis Van Gaal has sent him away to the reserve team. However, he thinks the Dutchman was a great teacher, but unappreciated by Catalan society due to his arrogant superficiality. The best choice he made in his career was when he turned down AC Milan's offer. His father thought he should leave to Italy, his mother threatened him with a divorce if he insisted on that idea. It's due to her determination that he became FC Barcelona's symbol.
He hates Raúl and Casillas
Today in Spain he has a status of 'national good'. He nearly is someone like Maradona for Argentina or Zidane for France. Himself, he doesn't dare to compare himself to them - they are idoles, just like Pep Guardiola, whom he supposed to clumsily replace at Barcelona, but whom he surpassed football-wise a long time ago. He thinks the position of stars in modern football is very exaggerated, it's like he tries to say to the fans: "Idolise us, but only when you're playing the game".
He wants to play until he's 36 years old. Is abstinence a way to gain longevity in sport ? "I don't drink when I can't, but sometimes a good libation is a nice way to stress yourself out after the win" - he said. Rivals he hates are Raúl and Casillas, because "they are too good". He reaches the top along with spiritual twin Andrés Iniesta, but the ideal partners he considers to be Rafa Marquez and Xabi Alonso. He would award Ballon D'Or to Leo Messi. He doesn't like to speak about himself. "For 10 years I'm playing the same way, ask the media why it's so loud about me right now" - he appeals.
ps: in case you can't tell, most of the jokes are tongue-in-cheek. I.E. he respects Iker and Raul, obviously duh.
XAVI APPRECIATION IN 3.....2......1.....
original sauce in Polish: http://sport.interia.pl/felietony/wolowski/news/wolowski-xavi-robocop-w-serwisie,1542969