Xavi Hernández scored his 76th goal for Barcelona in Mallorca (2-4) last weekend, his fourth this term and his tenth ever from a direct free kick. The curious thing is that only one of the ten free kicks was scored at the Camp Nou. It seems he’s a free kick specialist on the road!
First in Sant Sebastian
Xavi scored his first free kick on 29 September 2001, away to Real Sociedad. That goal made it 2-0 and sealed the three points. That was the season of his only ever free kick goal at the Camp Nou, against Espanyol (2-0).
In Ronaldinho’s shadow
From 2002 to 2008, Xavi only scored two goals from free kicks. It is telling that both were scored while Ronaldinho was not on the pitch, the Brazilian being one of the world’s finest free kick specialists of the era, and like Xavi, right-footed. The goals came away to Greek outfit Panionios (0-3) and at Getafe’s Coliseum Alfonso Pérez (1-1) in the UEFA Cup and Liga respectively.
Xavi has become a more regular kick taker in recent years, and has found the target six more times. He opened the scoring at Malaga (1-4) in 2008/09, and also scored away to Granada (0-1) and Sevilla in 2011/12 and at Mallorca (2-4) last weekend in Liga matches. He has also scored two free kicks in the Copa del Rey, in 2009 away to Athletic Bilbao (1-4), and again at Villarreal in 2009/10 (1-4) as the side marched towards its amazing 99 point season total.