Lionel Messi may have been the star of the Barcelona side that conquered European football – unquestionably one of the greatest club teams ever assembled – but it was Xavi who was emblematic of the style that would dazzle football fans around the globe. Alongside his countryman Andres Iniesta, Xavi stood tall among a refrain of great players during a spell of unprecedented success for club and country. A midfielder with a unique ability to make his complex role in an elaborate system look as easy as a walk in the park, Xavi was best at controlling the tempo of a match with his spectacular vision and range of passing. It says it all that a former Real Madrid coach, Jorge Valdano, said it best: "If football was a science, Xavi would have discovered the formula."
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