Barcelona’s report card for a 14-year-old has emerged – and the budding midfielder is marked as average in two categories.
Xavi would go on to become a Barcelona legend and one of the game’s greatest ever midfielders.
He made 767 appearances for Barca, winning four Champions League titles, eight La Liga crowns and the Copa del Rey three times.
Famed for his passing and positioning and therefore regarded as the embodiment of Barcelona’s tiki-taka style of play, Xavi is also regarded by many as Spain’s greatest ever player.
He was a vital member of the great Spain teams that won the 2010 World Cup, sandwiched by glory in the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.
And there are certainly signs of that illustrious future in the report card on a young Xavi’s progress at Barcelona’s famed academy, La Masia.
The report has come to light in a new book by Cristian Martin titled ‘La Masia’
Xavi is marked ‘excellent’ for control and positioning, and very good for passing – qualities that made him the perfect successor to Pep Guardiola as Barcelona’s playmaker, and then a crucial member of the latter’s all-conquering Barca team between 2008 and 2012.
However, he is marked as ‘average’ for speed and aggression. His coaches wrote he had trouble picking up speed, and that his ’eminently technical style’ made his aggression ‘hard to judge’.
Those limitations certainly didn’t stop him, however. He went on to win 31 trophies with Barcelona – surpassed only by teammate Andreas Iniesta as Spain’s most decorated player of all time.
Xavi is now manager of Quatar Stars League football club Al Sadd.
Xavi’s report card in full
Here’s what Xavi’s report card said about the 14-year-old hopeful, courtesy of Spanish publication Marca :
Running: He runs on his heels, his movements are slow and he has trouble picking up speed.
Coordination: Good. His movements are correct, but lack speed.
Flexibility: Average. He needs a lot of work in this regard.
Skill: Good, without it being his forte. He has the resources in his game to take advantage of any situation.
Fitness: Good. He has everything a good midfielder should.
Muscle endurance: Good.
Speed: Average. He has to improve his agility and speed of movement.
Starting Speed: Average
Rapid strength: Average
Control: Excellent. He offsets his lack of speed in movement with exceptional ball control.
Passing: Very good. He should improve with his left foot, but this is his great strength on the pitch.
Crossing: Good. He is almost never forced into this action.
Shooting: Acceptable. He should improve this for when he gets forward in attack, like Guardiola.
Running: Very good. He has a good sense of protecting the ball, he almost never loses it.
Dribbling: Good. Without being his best asset, his technical level is impressive.
Positioning: Excellent. It is undoubtedly his best quality. He is always where he should be and always offers support and an option for teammates.
Aggression: Average. His eminently technical style sometimes makes this aspect difficult to judge.