The new manager played his first game for FC Barcelona on 18 August 1998, versus RCD Mallorca in the Spanish Super Cup
Xavi Hernández played his first minutes for FC Barcelona on 24 March 1998 in the semi-final of the Copa Catalunya against Lleida Esportiu, but he didn’t make his official debut until 18 August 1998 in the Spanish Super Cup first leg against RCD Mallorca at the Lluís Sitjar. Louis van Gaal was the coach that sent the 18-year-old on for his first taste of senior competitive football.
Alongside him that day were superstar Brazilian striker Rivaldo, a man who would later manage the team and is currently in charge of Spain, Luis Enrique, and the very guy who served as interim coach prior to Xavi’s arrival, Sergi Barjuan.
Despite losing the game 2-1, Xavi was able to celebrate hus debut by scoring his team’s only goal. Sadly for Barça, the islanders won the trophy with a 1-0 win at Camp Nou in the second leg. Xavi played no part in the return leg.
Of course that was just the start of it for Xavi. He may not have won that trophy, but in seventeen years that followed he’d have plenty to celebrate, including an amazing four Champions Leagues and eight Liga titles. Of course, the midfield maestro was present for both treble seasons of 2008/09 and 2014/15.
Only Leo Messi played more than the 767 times that Xavi wore the Barça jersey.
And now he’s set for another first team debut. This time as manager. RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou, next Saturday at 9.00pm CET. Bring it on.