Xavi Hernández spoke to Champions Matchday in 2013 about what made FC Barcelona special; as he prepares to leave the club, here is what he had to say about the Camp Nou philosophy.
As the busy, quick-footed conductor at the heart of FC Barcelona's midfield, Xavi Hernández embodied the club's philosophy of tiki-taka football. As a perceptive, eloquent spokesman and ambassador, he summed up that approach to the game pretty neatly too.
"It's about doing something extra, not just winning," he said. "It's about playing well and then if you manage to win, even better. Barça always try to direct the game, they don't wait for the opposition but they go out and attack, so people identify with the club. Barça fans would never understand if the team were not controlling or dominating a match. That's the way it has to be."
The Barcelona way found perhaps its truest expression under Josep Guardiola, the midfield maestro turned coach who, in four years in charge from 2008 to 2012, won 14 trophies including two UEFA Champions Leagues in three seasons. He was also the midfield orchestrator when the Catalans lifted their first European Cup in 1992, passing responsibility to his young team-mate when he left.
Xavi came to embody this footballing institution, learning as a youth under Johan Cruyff and his successors what it meant to play for Barcelona. "Football is played to win, but our satisfaction has to be double," Xavi said in 2011. "Other teams win and are happy, but it's not the same. The identity is lacking. In football the result is an impostor. You can do things really, really well but not win. There's something greater than the result, more lasting – a legacy."
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