Famous Catalans: Xavi Hernández

🕔 3 mins (total)
Xavi in action during his time with FC Barça

Xavier Hernández i Creus, known professionally simply as Xavi, was born in Terrassa in the Province of Barcelona in 1980. And it was with F.C. Barcelona that he became a global superstar and one of the most recognized footballers on the planet.

The early days

Xavi‘s father, Joaquim, played football for almost two decades, sometimes professionally, for a number of clubs in Catalunya, mostly in and around Barcelona but also for a season with Girona F.C. It comes as no surprise then that young Xavi joined Barça’s famed youth academy, La Masia, at the age of 11 and gradually made his way through the underage system until he made his debut for the senior team in 1998 when he was 18 years old.

The golden years

Once Xavi broke into Barça’s first team there was no stopping him and by the 2004/05 season, he had been named vice-captain of the team that went on to win La Liga that year, with Xavi being named La Liga Spanish Player of the Year. The following year Barça repeated their La Liga success and also won only their second Champions League.

Despite interest from Bayern München, Xavi remained with Barça and went on to win La Liga a total of 8 times and the Champions League 4 times before his departure in 2015.

During this “Golden Era” when Barcelona were one of the greatest teams of all time, Xavi came third in three consecutive years, 2009-11, in the voting for World Player of the Year. (It didn’t help that the competition was Messi and Ronaldo!)

International career

Between 2000 and 2014, Xavi played 133 times for the senior Spanish national team, winning the European Championship twice, in 2008 and 2012, as well as the FIFA World Cup in 2010, Spain’s first and, to date, only World Cup triumph.

Retirement and coaching

When Xavi eventually did leave Barça in 2015, he did so as the record-holder for appearances for the club in all competitions: an incredible 767 – although that total was eventually surpassed by the great Lionel Messi in 2020/21, his final season for the club. Messi finished with 778 appearances. Xavi played on for a further four years with Al-Sadd in Qatar, and upon hanging up his boots for good, he became their coach. In November 2021, Xavi returned to his spiritual home at F.C. Barça as head coach, managing for two and a half years, leaving the post after the 2023/24 season.

Costa Brava moments

Xavi made his coaching debut in July 2019 right here on the Costa Brava when he brought his Al-Sadd team to play C.F. Palamós (the oldest team in Catalunya!) in the Estadi Palamós-Costa Brava. Coincidentally, this was the same stadium where the aforementioned Messi scored his first-ever goal for the Barcelona senior team in a pre-season friendly that Barça won 0-6! Palamós did a bit better against Xavi’s Al-Sadd, managing a 1-1 draw.

Another significant Costa Brava moment took place for Xavi almost exactly three years earlier when he married his partner, Nuria Cunillera, in Blanes in July 2016. It must’ve been a good wedding because it looks like they plan to have many more Costa Brava moments in the future in a property they’ve bought near Sa Conca beach in S’Agaro.

So keep an eye out, you just might see Xavi and family around the neighbourhood. Or if you can’t wait that long then follow Xavi’s photos, videos & messages on Instagram

The life and times of Xavi Hernandez on Instagram
The Life and Times of Xavi Hernández on Instagram

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