Legendary Xavi

From Old Trafford to the Parc des Princes and from 1998 to 2014, Xavi Hernández has won a place among the continental legends. Against PSG on Tuesday night he surpassed Raúl’s record of 142 appearances in the Champions League since it adopted its current format in the 1992/93 season. They’ve been 17 magical years for the Catalan midfielder and here we pick out ten of his biggest moments on the greatest stage in European club football.

  1. Euro debut: On September 16, 1998 Xavi made his UCL debut away to Manchester United at Old Trafford, coming on in the second half of a game that ended 3-3.
  2. First goal: Xavi scored his first Champions League goal on March 15, 2000 at the Camp Nou against Hertha Berlin. The game ended 3-1, with Gabri and Kluivert scoring the other two.
  3. Paris final: a serious knee injury meant Xavi sat out the final against Arsenal at Saint Denis on May 17, 2006. Even so, he was able to join in with the celebrations of his first major title as a Barça player.
  4. Rome final: Barça became champions of Europe for the third time on May 27, 2009 in Rome. It may have been the second win for Xavi, but this was the first in which he got to play in the grand final, and he was named man of the match at the end of it.

  5. European century: On September 9, 2009, Xavi made his 100th appearance in the Champions League in a group stage match away to Dynamo Kiev, and celebrated with the first of two goals as FCB came from behind to win 2-1.
  6. UEFA XI: Xavi has been named to the UEFA XI for the last six years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013). In 2008, he was named captain of the all-star team.
  7. Wembley final: London hosted the final on May 18, 2011, where Barça won their fourth Champions League trophy, and the third for Xavi, who laid on the assist for Pedro to open the scoring.
  8. Pass master: Xavi is the leading active player for assists in the Champions League (24), and needs just three more to catch up with the recently retired Ryan Giggs (27). He also leads in passes (9,638) over 3,000 ahead of two other Spaniards who follow him in the ranking: Xabi Alonso (6,222) and Iniesta (5,835). He is also top for completed passes (9,020) with Xabi Alonso second (5,286).
  9. Last goal in Europe: The last time Xavi found the target was away to Ajax Amsterdam last term. His goal came from the penalty spot, but the Dutch side won 2-1.
  10. Paris record: On Tuesday away to PSG, Xavi came on as sub to make his 143rd Champions League appearance, thus surpassing the previous record set by Raúl González with Real Madrid and Schalke 04.
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