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Xavi keeping focused on Wembley goal

FC Barcelona playmaker Xavi Hernández wants to make up for a missed trip to Wembley in 1992 as he seeks to return the focus to football in the second leg against Real Madrid CF.

Xavi wants to make up for missing out on the 1992 Wembley trip as a fan
Xavi wants to make up for missing out on the 1992 Wembley trip as a fan ©Getty Images

It is not exactly a revelation that Xavi Hernández is as articulate off the pitch as he is elegant on it.

FC Barcelona's playmaker is about to make his 131st appearance in UEFA club competitions and has pretty much seen and done it all. However, it was a refreshing moment, amid weeks of the highest tension between UEFA Champions League semi-finalists Barcelona and Real Madrid CF, when the 31-year-old repeatedly drew attention back to the immense football challenge which lies ahead of both teams in their second leg at the Camp Nou.

All the man, who numbers both 'Humphrey Bogart' and 'The Machine' among his nicknames, wanted to do was turn the world's focus back to the fact that the greatest club prize in football is at stake, that Real Madrid remain formidable opponents and that, despite all the heated moments, he is loving the contest.

"For us, in my case being a Barcelona fan, there is special motivation for this match," he explained. "It's great to be in a semi-final and we've taken a good result from the first leg. We want people to enjoy this match against a historical rival. As players we want to enjoy the match, we hope the fans enjoy it and that we achieve our objective – which is to be in the final.

"Everyone has become too preoccupied with things that aren't relevant to the game itself," added the FIFA World Cup winner. "I feel people focus on things that aren't important, things that have nothing to do with football."

But even though this was Xavi both focused and professional, there is something about the lure of a European final at Wembley which is so significant for a Barcelona supporter, born and bred, that he was willing to imagine a very special visit on 28 May.

Of course it was in London, in 1992, that Barcelona won their first European Champion Clubs' Cup but Xavi was not there – much to his continuing chagrin. "My brothers were allowed to travel to Wembley back then but I was not – my parents told me I just had to watch the game on television. I was upset then but it would be particularly special for all those who love Barcelona to return this year, especially if we beat our historic rival to get there."