Thu 16 December 2021 | 14:30

Top facts about Xavi Hernandez, The Puppet Master

Xavi is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time. He has been integral to Barcelona’s dominance over the past few decades. Read on to find out more facts about Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona legend.

As a young aspiring footballer,

Xavi Hernández

grew up watching

Pep Guardiola

who was later his coach. His rapid rise through the reserve team saw Barcelona B win promotion to the second division.

Xavi can effortlessly command the central areas of the pitch, and his abilities in this area along with his phenomenal vision and passing ability have earned him the nickname “The Puppet Master.”

Xavi, a youth team product at Barça, played 700 games, netted 82 goals, and made over 150 assists at the club. He won several awards like the 2010 World Soccer Player of the Year; he was crowned La Liga Midfielder of the Year on three occasions, as well as the Onze de Bronze in 2011.

Here are top facts about Xavi Hernandez, the midfield maestro:


, Iniesta, Busquets, Xavi, and the squad mastered the tiki-taka style of play and that’s why this team has been widely considered to be one of the best to ever play the game.

Former Spain international joined Al-Sadd as a player in 2015 after 17 trophy-laden years with Barcelona, becoming their head coach after hanging up his boots in 2019.

Xavi has recently left his club, Al-Sadd of Qatar, and became the first team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons.

Xavi Hernandez early life

Xavier Hernández Creus was born on January 25, 1980, in Terrassa, Barcelona, Catalonia.




are not very well-known but his father, Joaquim, was a former professional footballer who played for Sabadell in the first division.

From an early age, Xavi joined Barcelona's La Masia academy at the age of 11 and rose through the ranks quickly to secure a spot in Josep Maria Gonzalvo's Barcelona B team, which won promotion to the second division.

The first amazing

fact about Xavi Hernandez

is that he was inspired by Pep Guardiola at


, as well as English midfielders Paul Scholes, John Barnes, Paul Gascoigne, and Matt Le Tissier.

Xavi made his first-team appearance in a match against Lleida on May 5, 1998, and scored his first goal three months later in the Super Cup final against Mallorca.

He made his first appearance in La Liga on October 3, 1998, in a game against Valencia, and was named 1999 La Liga ‘Breakthrough Player of the Year’ after winning the Spanish league.

He became the key playmaker for the team during the next season, and scored 7 goals, including 20 assists in the next two seasons.

Xavi was the vice-captain of the team during the 2004-05 season, in which Barcelona won La Liga and Supercopa de España, and was named the ‘La Liga Spanish Player of the Year’ in 2005.

Xavi suffered a leg injury in the following season and had to rest for four months before returning to witness his club’s 2006 UEFA Champions League win. Barcelona also won La Liga and the Supercopa de España again that season.


acts about Xavi Hernandez is that during the 2008-09 seasons, he considered a transfer to

Bayern Munich

, but was convinced by the coach Pep Guardiola to stay at Barcelona. He ended the season with 29 assists, including 20 in La Liga, becoming the highest assisting player.

Xavi scored a goal in their 4-1 win against Athletic Bilbao in the 2009 Copa del Rey final and assisted in Lionel Messi’s header in their 2009 Champions League final win against Manchester United. His contributions won him the ‘UEFA Champions League best midfielder’ honor.

In the 2009-10 seasons, Xavi became the highest assisting player once again and helped Barcelona win the La Liga title. He came third in the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or behind Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta.

In early 2011, Xavi became the player with the most appearances for Barcelona, surpassing Migueli who previously held the record with 549 appearances.

That year, they won the Champions League final against

Manchester United

and the FIFA Club World Cup final against Brazilian side Santos, in which he scored a goal and also made an assist.

The 2011-12 season was his career best in terms of goal-scoring. He had ten La Liga goals, one in the FIFA Club World Cup, and two in Copa del Rey, which they also won.

The 2014-15 season is the last he played for Barcelona, during which he made his 500th La Liga appearance. He was the captain of the team during the season, and played his final match as a substitute in their Champions League final win against Juventus.

Xavi signed a three-year contract with Qatari club Al Sadd in mid 2015, and made an assist in his debut match for the team in their 4-0 win over Mesaimeer on September 13, 2015. The 2017 Qatar Cup win was his first trophy with the team.

Xavi played for the Spanish U-20 World Cup team which won the title in 1999. He debuted for the senior national team the next year, and went on to play 133 matches for Spain.

He played a pivotal role in the UEFA Euro 2008 championship, in which Spain remained undefeated and won the title for the second time after 1964.

Xavi scored the first goal in their 3-0 semi-final win against Russia and assisted in the only goal in the final against Germany, and was honored as the ‘Player of the Tournament’ for his performance.

In 2010, Xavi helped Spain win their first World Cup making 599 passes with a success rate of 91%. He registered the best ball possession in the tournament and also assisted in a number of goals, including one in the semi-finals against Germany for which he was named ‘Man of the Match’.

During a group stage match against the Republic of Ireland in the UEFA Euro 2012, he made a record 136 passes with a success rate of 94% in their 4-0 win. He assisted in two goals in their 4-0 win against Italy in the final, becoming the first player to have assisted in goals in two European Championship finals.

He entered the Spanish side for the 2014 World Cup as the most successful player in the country’s history, but his team was eliminated at the group stage. He soon announced his retirement from international football, ending a 14-year-old career.

Xavi and Pep Guardiola

After helping Spain through the Euros, speculation over Xavi Hernández' possible move to Bayern Munich dominated the sports news around Europe. Pep Guardiola, the newly appointed coach, convinced him to stay with the club. He paid his contract extension with a treble win for Barcelona.

His four assist against their bitter rivals helped Barcelona thrash

Real Madrid

by six goals to 2. In addition to their local success, the club also won the UEFA Champions League. Due to his exceptional contribution, his club awarded him a contract worth €7.5 million. He became one of the club’s highest earners.

Another interesting fact about Xavi Hernandez is that in 2010, he was among his teammates Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta named for the Ballon d'Or trophy. Xavi however finished behind both Messi and Iniesta.

He matched Miguel on match appearance against Levante on 2nd January 2011. During that season, he helped FC Barcelona beat Manchester United to lift the UEFA Champion League Cup for the third time.

Another interesting fact about Xavi Hernandez is that he made his 700th appearance against

Getafe FC

. However, during that season, Barcelona ended the season without a trophy.

Xavi’s departure from Barcelona

Although Barcelona completed a famous treble, they said goodbye to a club legend after the Champions League final on the 6th of June of 2015. Xavi Hernandez joined Qatari side Al Sadd, and this was after an astonishing 765 appearances over 17 trophy laden years at Barcelona.

Xavi was desperate to complete the treble and add 2 more trophies to his haul before packing his bag, but regardless of what happened in their 2 finals, it was a special and emotional moment for all those attached to Barcelona football club.

Among the outstanding 

facts about Xavi Hernandez

 is that he announced in June 2014 that he was leaving his childhood club. The newly appointed coach Luis Enrique, however, convinced him to stay with the club for one more season.

During that season he was made the captain of the club. Later that season, a farewell was held for the club’s captain. His last major trophy came when Barcelona beat Juventus FC in to lift the UEFA Champions League.

It was a phenomenal 17 years for Xavi Hernandez, who made his final Nou Camp appearance and was unable to hold back his tears in an emotional moment.

His work at Barcelona might not be quite finished yet, and he has the opportunity to come back to the Nou Camp as a coach.

Some quick facts about Xavi Hernandez:

Xavi joined the club as an 11 year old in 1991. He was born in Barcelona and is a product of their La Masia youth system. He has been at the Nou Camp since he was 11 years old, making his way through youth and reserve teams before making his first-team debut appearance in a friendly against Southampton in 1998.

He scored in his competitive first-team debut.The 1998/99 season marked the beginning of a very long and successful Barcelona career, with Xavi finding the back of the net in his competitive debut against RCD Mallorca in the Super Cup final.

In his debut campaign, Xavi made 26 appearances and was an important part of Louis Van Gaal’s title winning team. At the end of the season he was awarded the 1999 La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year.

He will become an ambassador for the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup. On May 21st, Xavi announced that he would be joining Al Sadd at the end of the season on a 3 year contract.

In addition to joining the Qatari side, the deal also saw Xavi became an ambassador for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Xavi also started his coaching qualifications as well according to reports.


Xavi Hernandez social media

, it should be mentioned that he has an Instagram page (


) with 7.3m followers.

Xavi Hernandez wife, Nuria Cunillera

Xavi's girlfriend was Nuria Cunillera who was a fashion journalist. On 13 July 2013, Xavi tied with his girlfriend

Nuria Cunillera

. About 180 of the couple's close family and friends were in attendance for the ceremony.

Another noticeable 

fact about Xavi Hernandez

 is that he and Nuria had been partners before the European Championship in 2012. The couple is famous for their privacy as they are not interested in any kind of social media. They try to keep their life private and out of the spotlight. Xavi married his partner, fashion journalist Nuria Cunillera, in 2013 at a ceremony that was attended by the majority of his Barcelona teammates. They spent their honeymoon in the popular and luxurious islands of Seychelles.

There is not too much information about the couple as it appears that Xavi prefers to keep his personal life out of the spotlight and away from the media. The couple had been dating since Spain’s victory in Euro 2012.

The couple has two children: the oldest, Asia, born in January 2016 and Dan, was born in 2018.

Xavi Hernandez professional career

Talking about

Xavi’s stats

, it should be mentioned that he has excelled for country as well as club. It was not just Barcelona who would be missing Xavi Hernandez, as he has also been integral to Spain’s success in recent times too.

For country, Xavi has helped his team to 1 FIFA World Cup and 2 UEFA European Football Championships, as well as a silver medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

He was named player of the tournament at Euro 2008, he provided the most number of accurate passes in the 2010 World Cup, had a pass completion rate of 94% in Euro 2012 and made 133 appearances in 14 years for the national side.

He became the 1st player to register assists in 2 separate Euro finals. Xavi is the pass master, and over the years he has registered dozens of assists for both club and country. At Euro 2008, Xavi provided the assist for the only goal (Torres) in the final when


emerged victorious over



Xavi would make history 4 years later by becoming the 1st player to register assists in 2 separate Euro finals, and he did it in style too by setting up 2 goals in their convincing 4-0 victory over Italy.

He has won FIFA Ballon d’Or of the Year 3rd Place 3 times. Xavi has been one of the best players in the world for a long time, and he has won FIFA Ballon d’Or of the Year 3rd Place 3 times (2009, 2010 and 2011).

Whilst this is an impressive achievement, it must also be frustrating finishing 3rd place (with teammate Messi winning all 3). There is no denying the brilliance of Messi, but due to Xavi playing in the centre of midfield and pulling the strings instead of scoring the goals he perhaps sometimes gets overlooked.

He was awarded the IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker award 4 times. Each year the International Federation of Football History & Statistics give an award to who they deem to be the best playmaker in the world that year, and Xavi has collected the award a stunning 4 times.

Not just this, but this was in 4 consecutive years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and this demonstrates his incredible dominance during this period. The award has only been in existence since 2006, with Xavi’s midfield partner Iniesta the only other player to win more than 1 award (2012, 2013).

No Spanish player has won more trophies than he has. When Spain lifted the Euro 2012 title, Xavi lifted his 23rd trophy in total. No Spanish player has lifted more trophies than this, having overtaken Paco Gento who had 22.

Xavi has played a key role in both the Barcelona and Spanish team, and will go down as a legend and loyal servant who brought a huge amount of success to both teams whilst playing an entertaining brand of football. Xavi of course has the opportunity to add 2 more to his tally before joining Al Sadd at the end of the season.

He has lifted 23 trophies in his 17 seasons at Barcelona. Barcelona have won a staggering amount in modern times, and Xavi has been integral to all of this.

Messi may get most of the plaudits, but Xavi’s abilities in the middle of the park are immensely valuable and it has been a full team effort to lift so many trophies. Xavi’s haul, which he can add another 2 to by the end of the season, include 8 La Liga titles, 2 Copa Del Rey’s and 3 Champions League titles plus plenty more.

Football-wise, the most amazing thing is his passing. He excels so much at this most crucial aspect of football, it's scary.

For instance, he averaged more than 90% pass completion rate in the EURO 2008, the Champions League 2008-09 all the while playing more passes than anyone else.

The most mind-blowing fact about Xavi Hernandez is that in Spain’s friendly against Italy in 2008, Xavi alone completed 105 passes; the entire Italian national side just 92. Yes, that guy sometimes completes more passes than the entire opposing team taken together.

Xavi Hernandez Awards and Achievements

Xavi was named ‘UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year’ during 2008-09 and won the ‘UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament’ award in 2008. He won the ‘Prince of Asturias Award for Sports’ twice in 2010 and 2012.

He was the ‘World Soccer Player of the Year’ in 2010 and was named into the ‘FIFA World Cup Dream Team’ that year. He secured third place in FIFA Ballon d'Or three times consecutively between 2009 and 2011.

Xavi started dating fashion journalist Núria Cunillera after Spain’s Euro 2012 win. They got married at a ceremony in Marimurta Botanical Gardens in Girona in July 2013 and welcomed their first daughter Asia on January 3, 2016.

He is an ambassador of the German sports brand Adidas, for which he has appeared on many commercials. He was among the top footballers selected for FIFA's "11 against Ebola" campaign in November 2014.

Xavi earned the nickname “The Puppet Master” for his ability make perfect passes and keep possession of the ball, which put him in control of a huge number of matches he played. He was also a crucial part of Barcelona’s tiki-taka play style along with teammates Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and

Sergio Busquets


When Xavi was 19, he almost signed for Milan. His father gave the "yes" to him but his mother said "If Xavi leaves Barcelona I will divorce!"

Xavi Hernandez net worth and salary

Xavi’s net worth is set to be really high since he spent most of his playing career in Barcelona before retiring in the middle east where he earned even more. He is now the coach over there and there have been talks of him returning to FC Barcelona.

Unlike his partner-in-crime in Barcelona, Andres Iniesta,

Xavi Hernandez net worth

is only $40 million. Why do we say only? It is only because Iniesta’s is estimated at $108 million already and expected to end up above $150 million. That is a difference of over a $100 million!

Xavi Hernandez’s primary earning came from his days at Al-Sadd. He is currently their manager now. However, earlier he used to be playing for them where he earned over $13 million per season as a player!

Now as their manager he also earns around $14 million per season! So it can be actually estimated that Xavi Hernandez’s net worth is way more than what’s been assumed by online journals!

The former Spanish midfielder had a hefty estimated net worth of around $40 million as well. Once again, the calculations simply do not add up since his income at Al-Sadd has already been around $40 million.

Xavi Hernandez Hernandez owns a few lavish cars! Of the ones that are definitely worth mentioning are his Audi, MBW S6, Range Rover, Ferrari F430, Ford. He did not even have to buy his Audi as he is their brand ambassador in the middle east and was offered one to drive around. 

His Ferrari F430 is one of the fastest cars or at least was when he bought it. It had a top speed of close to 200 miles per hour. Somehow we don’t think Xavi Hernandez was impressed!

In his final days at Barcelona,

Xavi Hernandez



was around $14 million per season! Hence, the man who spent over 15 years at the club, will definitely have earned in excess of $50 million at least.

Xavi has a long sponsorship deal running with Adidas. Along with Lionel Messi and

Luis Suarez


Robin Van Persie

, Xavi Hernandez featured in multiple popular ads and campaigns for them. He is also the brand ambassador of the Qatar division of Audi, an area where they get one of their highest revenues.

Xavi Hernandez charity works

Xavi is also known for his philanthropic efforts as he gives back just as much as he earns. He has a charity program of his own.

In 2011, FIFA gave Xavi a check of $130,000 for being nominated as the captain of the FIFA Team of the Year back in 2011. He accepted the award and honor but donated the winnings to ICRC for the Red Cross’ physical rehabilitation program which was running in Afghanistan.

“It’s an honor to be part of the team and also to be captain,” said Xavi at the time. “It’s an honor to represent European and world football, and in this case we are helping people who are more vulnerable and who need it – so I am proud in that sense.

“It is very important to help. We are privileged people in society. We have it good, through living our passion. It’s a profession of course but it’s also a hobby and a passion. So to be able to help people who need it, it’s a beautiful cause and I feel very proud.”

The final fact about Xavi Hernandez is that he and his wife donated one million euros ($1.08 million) to the city's Hospital Clinic to help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"Nuria and I, we support the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona's fight against the coronavirus. Thanks to the donations they are receiving, the hospital has acquired equipment for patients and healthcare professionals," Xavi said in a video posted on his Twitter account.

Xavi back at Barcelona

Barcelona announced on November 6 that they have named their former midfielder and captain Xavi Hernandez as head coach on a contract until 2024, following the sacking of

Ronald Koeman


Xavi returned to Barcelona as manager and revealed that he had turned the job down twice previously, first because he didn’t feel ready and then because he didn’t trust the previous administration or the chaotic situation in which the club found itself.

With the 1-0 win against Espanyol at Camp Nou on his debut, Xavi follows in the footsteps of many illustrious names who have recorded wins in their first games as Barça coach.

With Xavi’s Barcelona, it is admittedly just early days. Nevertheless, the Spaniard has shown that his tactical blueprint is one that subscribes to the philosophy of positional play.

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source: SportMob

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