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Xavi came on as sub at the Parc des Princes / MIGUEL RUIC-FCB

Barça’s most successful midfielder ever, Xavi Hernández, has set a new record for appearances in the Champions League era. That’s 143 games and all of them for Barça over almost sixteen seasons. The milestone was reached in the 67th minute against PSG when he was sent on as a replacement for Rakitic.

He made his UCL debut at the age of 18 on September 16, 1998 at Old Trafford against the great Manchester United side of the 1990s. Curiously, Barça got a draw that night thanks to a goal from Xavi’s current manager Luis Enrique. He got his first Champions League goal 18 months later against Hertha Berlin on May 15, 2000 on the way to the semi-finals under Louis Van Gaal.

By the time he qualified for his first Champions League final in 2006, Xavi had become one of the most important players in the FC Barcelona team, but he missed the game in Paris through injury. But he was there in Rome on May 27, 2009 to help his side beat Manchester United with a true masterclass in football. In a wonderful personal display, it was Xavi’s assist to Messi that won FC Barcelona the trophy for the third time.

Game 100

He made it to 100 UCL appearances on December 9, 2009 against Dynamo Kiev, and scored the equaliser that paved the way for Messi to grab the winner. The next season he was back in another final, at Wembley, and captained the team due to Puyol’s absence through injury.

The others

Following tonight’s game in Paris, Xavi Hernández has overtaken Raúl González’s previous record of 141 appearances. In their wake follow Welshman Ryan Giggs with 141, goalkeeper Iker Casillas with 140 and globetrotting Clarence Seedorf, who won four titles with three different clubs, and amassed 125 games in the competition.


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