La Liga is a place where footballing legends are made, and Xavi Hernandez is one of the greatest of them all. "This team always wants to win" Xavi said last season, when describing how no Barça team ever assumes that the Liga title is lost. And he is still hungry to continue breaking records in a competition that he has won seven times, more than any other Barça player in the entire history of the club. In sixteen consecutive league seasons he has set a club record of 474 appearances in the competition, and in terms of overall titles he is also the most decorated player in Barça history.
Voted player of the tournament at both Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, he’s played under 9 coaches at FCB, but it was Louis van Gaal who gave him his league debut on October 3, 1998 away to Valencia. Barça won that game 3-1, and he has been a regular member of the starting line-up ever since.
Of his seven Liga titles, the current Barça captain has particularly fond memories of the first, won in in his debut season with the first team, 1998/99, alongside stars like Rivaldo, Figo, and the man who is now his new coach, Luis Enrique. "All the league titles were fantastic” he told a press conference today at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. “But maybe the first one was the most exciting and special of all". But the six that came later, which made him into the legend that he is today, all bring back wonderful memories. “I value all of them highly because, after all, every title is important … Every Barça player loves to win trophies.”
He’s now going into his seventeenth Liga season, and following the departure of Carles Puyol, he is now the first choice captain. "It's a nice challenge” he said. “We have to win.”