BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 06: Xavi Hernandez of FC Barcelona gives a thumbs up during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk at the Camp Nou Stadium on April 6, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Report: Before the club season began Xavi led Spain to World Cup glory. As with Barcelona he orchestrated every play Spain made and ended the campaign with seven games played (all starts) and one assist. That last stat might not show the true importance of Xavi to the Spanish national side, but he is a key component.
Had it not been for the World Cup Xavi might have undergone surgery to repair the damaged Achilles tendon that has been bothering him for the past few season. Because there was no time questions were raised if Xavi will be able to play at his unbelievably high standard. He did. Xavi was simply brilliant throughout the season even though his minutes on the pitch were down from previous years, because he was substituted in nearly half of the games. But most of them came late in games.
Despite the tendon problems Xavi extended the streak of 50+ games played per season to five consecutive years; his only other 50+ appearances season came in 2001/02 season. Xavi was constantly among leaders in passes, passes attempted and successful passes. Those stats tell that he is involved in every play Barca make and he very rarely loses the ball which results in an extremely high pass success rate.
The most interesting stat of Xavi's season is that he made only 7 fouls during in all competitions combined, but he got 6 yellow cards. None of them came for a foul. Another notable stat is that Xavi ended the La Liga season tied for third on the Barcelona team in assist at seven (behind Lionel Messi and Daniel Alves.
Moment of the season: Xavi made numerous stunning plays, but the moment I'm going with here is the goal he scored against Arsenal in the return leg of the quarter-final of the Champions League on 8 March. As usual Xavi started the play in midfield and half a dozen of passes later, the midfielder finished the play with one of the best team goals of the seasons. Barcelona won the game 3-1 and advanced to the next round.
Gol de Xavi 720p HD - Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal - Iniesta Incredible Dribble 8/3/11 (via CatalanProductionsHD)
|Started on the bench||6
|Shots on goal||18
Record with Xavi in the starting lineup: 34-9-4
2011/12 Outlook: Xavi will return as the General of the Barcelona squad. His playing time will be determined by the status if his Achilles tendon, but even if the tendon will be ready to go he might play less. Why? Because Thiago Alcantara will get to play more and if/when Cesc Fabregas joins the midfield will suddenly become crowded and Guardiola will have to find a way to distribute minutes among his midfielders.
Next up: Andrés Iniesta
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