Everything points to the fact that, at the end of the season, Xavi Hernández will leave Barça. "It's okay that he is leaving", “He is old," or "He is not useful for this modern game," are some of the claims that have been made in recent times. I will not address them any further. It is a waste of time. It is that simple. It is true that no one will remember Xavi as the player who ran faster than anyone, who jumped higher than anyone, who recovered balls, or the player who intervened with a huge effort to prevent the ball going past the goalkeeper and into the net. He will not be remembered for any of these things, not one.

Now, he won't be remembered for performing three “nutmegs” in a row, for dribbling past one player after another, or for his goalscoring records.

It has always been said that football is a matter of space and time; the one who dominates these aspects dominates football. This is SIR XAVI (Yes, in capital letters, as Puyal named him "Maestro"). Xavi is football. He is the “fucking boss” of space and time who always possesses his GPS-like instinct to spot the positions and scans all the possibilities before receiving the ball. Some have said that what he does is very easy. Easy? You mean it is easy to play 1-2 touches while nearly always choosing the best option? No. Not a chance. What Xavi does is very complicated. If it was that easy, the world would be full of Xavis; but it is not. There must be some reason for that.

Now, I play it short. Now, I play it long. Now, I play it to the right. Now, I play it to the left. Now, forwards. Now, backwards. Now, we accelerate. Now, we stop. Now, I approach. Now, I go away. It is about space and time, at all times. Xavi reads the match like no other, and is one of the few players in football history who are capable of doing that. He always knows what is best in the team’s interest.

“The false 9” is not understood without Xavi. “When you see Leo in this position between the lines, pass him the ball,” Pep said to Xavi on the day of the 2-6 victory at the Bernabéu. On that day, Xavi searched for Messi, and when he saw him, right where he had been told he would be, PAM! Because, of course, you can have all the intelligence in the world, but if you can't execute the pass... And Xavi, in addition to his intelligence, has quality. Tons of quality that a lot of people hasn't seen or ever understood.

“Move the ball to move the opposition,” the manual of positional play would say. And Xavi got tired of playing the ball. Towards hither and thither. Always with the idea of ​​disrupting the opponents, of finding spaces between the lines, of finding the place for that inside pass and then again, PAM! Take it Leo, and finish. And, if Leo gets the ball near the edge of the box, he finishes it. That is why he is the best in the world.

“Do not touch it if they don't come at you” the manual also says. And, Xavi was running with the ball, until an opponent was coming after him and, then, a soft touch and the opponent was no longer a factor. Now, a line over-passed, bringing him closer to the opponent's box. Space and time; every time.

Xavi, besides breaking many boundaries, also broke another football “myth” altogether, along with Iniesta and Messi. They are small and technical players, especially the “6” and “8” playing in midfield that showed that you do not need to be 1.80-meters tall or weigh 80 kg to play this position. And, when they linked up with the “10”, then those 3v2s near the opponent’s box were dizzying for everyone, until, PAM!, once again, Leo got the ball and finished.

“The ball does not get tired, let's make the ball run,” the manual also says, and Xavi made the ball run at a crazy speed. So much so that one day, while Barça were beating Bayern 4-0 in the Champions League, then Bayern player and former Barça player, Van Bommel was asked after the game why they did not commit any fouls at all. He simply replied, “It’s just that nobody was there. When we arrived, there was no ball or player there. It was like chasing ghosts.”

It will take years to see anybody like Xavi at Barça again, and in the world as well. Players like him do not appear every day. There is not an abundance of architects and engineers like him with this kind of playing style. No other person has mastered those spatial concepts like the man from Terrassa. Xavi would not have won seven Ligas, three Champions, two World Club Cups, two European Championships, and one World Club, playing as a starter, if he was not something very special.

Ladies and gentlemen, please stand up and take your hats off for the "Lord of Space and Time"; SIR XAVI!

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