Few footballers in the modern era have a CV that stacks up alongside Xavi’s, and when the Barcelona legend speaks about football, his opinions deserve respect.
The World Cup and serial Champions League winner has been taking a stroll down memory lane as his career enters its winter – and reflecting on the night that the Anfield crowd left him speechless.
The midfielder, now 36 and seeing out his playing career with Qatari club Al Sadd, was part of several different Barca teams that made the trip to England to take on Liverpool across the early 2000s, but the atmosphere from one particular night stands out above all the others.
The Catalan club took on the Reds in the group stages of the Champions League in November 2001, winning 3-1, and speaking in the latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine, via the Liverpool Echo, Xavi said of the night: “The fans remained for the whole game and never stopped applauding their team. I couldn’t believe it. I was speechless.”
“English football has always been in Spain’s retina. England breathes football in a way Spain doesn’t. In England, a footballer is like a god.”
He’s played against every big club on the continent, and graced just about every major stadium the world has to offer, but Anfield is reserved for special praise. Big words from a genuine football great.
Liverpool fans – what do you think of Xavi’s comments? Were you at the game?