Xavi and Pirlo are two of the greatest midfielders not just of the current era, but of all time. Few players have ever been such masters of the ball, and so capable of producing passes out of nothing. Both at club and international level, these two players have helped to redefine the term ‘midfield general’.
Xavi will be leaving Barça after the Champions League Final to end a glittering career that has seen him win 24 titles in 17 seasons. And in his last game for FCB, he’ll be facing Pirlo, who he himself described this week as “a footballer in capital letters, spectacular … There is no player in the world right now that shares Pirlo’s talent. We played at all levels before finally meeting as professionals, when he was playing for Italy, Milan and now Juventus … I have always been a fan and admirer of Pirlo”.
Aged 35 and 36, respectively, Xavi and Pirlo have won everything there is to win between them. The Catalan has won eight Spanish Ligas and three Champions Leagues, while the Italian has won the Scudetto five times and the Champions League twice. They have also both won one World Cup each for Spain (2010) and Italy (2006). Xavi has only ever played for one club, Barça, while Pirlo made his Serie A debut for Brescia before going on to play for all of Inter Milan, Reggina, AC Milan and Juventus.
Xavi and Pirlo have faced each other on numerous occasions in the past, and here’s a recap of all those matches:
|20/10/2004||Champions League group stage||Milan - Barça||1-0|
|02/11/2004||Champions League group stage||Barça - Milan||2-1|
|17/11/1998||U21 friendly||Italy - Spain||0-0|
|28/03/2000||U21 friendly||Spain - Italy||3-0|
|23/09/2000||Olympic quarter final||Italy - Spain||0-1|
|28/04/2004||Friendly||Italy – Spain||1-1|
|26/03/2008||Friendly||Spain - Italy||1-0|
|10/06/2012||Euro 2012 groups stage||Spain - Italy||1-1|
|01/07/2012||Euro 2012 final||Spain - Italy||4-0|
|27/06/2013||Confederations Cup SF||Spain - Italy||0-0|
|05/03/2014||Friendly||Spain - Italy||1-0|