Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2 January 2011 - Xavi Shares The Record

On 2 January 2011, Xavi made his 549th appearance for Barcelona, tying the club record set by Migueli in 1988. He has since gone on to beat the record by more than 100 appearances and is still going.

The midfielder joined the club as a youth player in 1991 at the age of 11, then started his professional career there in 1997. One year later, he cracked the first team, making a total of 27 appearances in the 1998-99 season.

His record-tying match was at home against Levante. The visitors were coming off an 8-0 mauling by Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey, so few people expected them to trouble the hosts, who had camped out at the top of table since late November.

But it turned out to be a scrappy match, with a scoreless first half. Barça eventually took the lead with a 47th-minute goal from forward Pedro, who then extended it with a second strike in the 59th. Ten minutes after that, Levante striker Christian Stuani scored to halve the deficit, but they could not find another and the match ended as a 2-1 Barcelona win. After the final whistle, the club surprised Xavi with a ceremony to recognize his accomplishment.

Now in his fifteenth season with Barcelona, he has taken sole possession of the appearances record with a current tally of 653 across all competitions.

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