FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández described his 700th appearance for the Blaugrana in Thursday's Copa del Rey victory at Getafe CF as "a very special" occasion. The 33-year-old added that he wished to "continue being an important presence for Barça" in the future.
Heading the club's all-time list of appearance makers, Xavi has developed into one of the game's consistently outstanding performers since his senior debut in 1998. The Spanish international's 22 major trophies won under a total of nine coaches with the Catalan giants is also a record. UEFA.com looks back over some of the more memorable encounters of his Barça career.
RCD Mallorca 2-1 FC Barcelona (Super Cup first leg, 18/08/98)
The game that began it all. Developing in the shadow of commanding midfielder Josep Guardiola, a young Xavi nonetheless caught the attention of coach Louis van Gaal, whose decision to hand the 18-year-old his first start paid off when he scored the opening goal of this tie. Mallorca, however, would go on to win the match and the trophy.
Real Valladolid CF 0-1 FC Barcelona (Liga, 20/12/98)
Struggling to make an impact domestically, tenth-placed Barça produced an incredible reversal of form that was kick-started with this Xavi-inspired victory, the teenager netting the winner in the 16th minute. Van Gaal's charges went on to land the Liga title by eleven points, with Xavi – who featured in 17 top-flight games that term – clinching the first of his seven Liga crowns.
Real Madrid CF 1-2 FC Barcelona (Liga, 25/04/04)
Xavi's superb finish following Ronaldinho's cleverly lofted pass with just four minutes remaining delivered a sucker punch to the champions. This was a match that many believe led to the subsequent demise of the 'Galácticos' era.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk 1-2 FC Barcelona (UEFA Champions League, 01/10/08)
As well as becoming the first Barcelona player to reach 100 outings in European club competition in this UEFA Champions League Group C success, Xavi also provided the pass for Lionel Messi's added-time decider.
Real Madrid CF 2-6 FC Barcelona (Liga, 02/05/09)
On the way to becoming the first Spanish side to lift a treble of Liga, UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey, under the recently appointed Guardiola, Barça achieved a significant top-flight scalp at the home of their eternal rivals – it was a game Xavi said ''we didn't want to end''.
FC Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United FC (UEFA Champions League, 27/05/09)
Following a season hampered by a serious knee injury, Xavi stayed on the bench for the Azulgrana's 2006 UEFA Champions League final triumph against Arsenal FC in Paris. He was at the heart of things three years later, though, supplying the assist for Messi to score a memorable header against holders United in the final.
FC Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid CF (Liga, 29/11/10)
Xavi remarked that he and his team-mates ''couldn't stop dancing'' in the dressing room after a bruising night in the Catalan capital for José Mourinho's Madrid, who were sensing the worst after the Barça schemer's early opener at the Camp Nou.
FC Barcelona 2-1 UD Levante (Liga, 02/01/11)
"If his tendons hold out, I think he could get to 700," Guardiola said after Xavi equalled Migueli's all-time club appearance record of 549 games in this Liga win against Levante. "It's a source of great pride, not for the record, but just to have worn the shirt," the man himself noted.
FC Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United FC (UEFA Champions League, 28/05/11)
Defender Carles Puyol's injury-enforced absence from the Wembley showpiece meant Xavi donned the captain's armband, making him the sixth Spanish player to do so in a UEFA Champions League final.
Santos FC 0-4 FC Barcelona (FIFA Club World Cup, 18/12/11)
An assist and a goal from Barcelona's No6 against Neymar's Santos in Japan helped Xavi to trophy No19 and his second FIFA Club World Cup success.
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