FC Barcelona's Xavi Hernández has joined ex-Real Madrid CF striker Raúl González as the player with the most group stage to final UEFA Champions League appearances.
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FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández has moved level with former Real Madrid CF striker Raúl González at the top of the list of players who have made the most group stage to final appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
As he took to the pitch against APOEL FC tonight, the three-time UEFA Champions League winner advanced his tally of games to 142 – one clear of former Manchester United FC winger Ryan Giggs and the same total as Raúl, who retired from professional football this summer after a spell with Qatari side al-Sadd SC.
Xavi, 34, will make the record his own if he appears against Paris Saint-Germain on matchday two, and will also be in sight of the all-time UEFA Champions League appearance record of 151 games – qualifying included – set by Giggs. His total in that regard currently stands at 148.
"If it was up to me I'd never leave Barcelona," Xavi said in a recent interview. "I've had chances to leave several times but my feelings [for the club] always made up my mind. I told them I didn't want to play for another club against Barcelona and would like to end my career here."
Most UEFA Champions League appearances (group stage to final)
Raúl González 142
Xavi Hernández 142
Ryan Giggs 141
Iker Casillas 141
Clarence Seedorf 125
Most UEFA Champions League appearances (qualifying included)
Ryan Giggs 151
Xavi Hernández 148
Raúl González 144
Iker Casillas 143
Paolo Maldini 140*
* Includes European Champion Clubs' Cup appearances