Barcelona midfielder Xavi played his 700th game for the Catalan giants Thursday night, Jan. 16, against Getafe in the Copa del Rey.
The club announced the news via Twitter:
Over the years, the creative midfielder has overcome serious injuries, an offer from AC Milan and constant comparisons to Pep Guardiola, per Marca.
The Spanish international midfielder started his career for the club 16 years ago when Dutch manager Louis van Gaal sent him on to make his debut on Oct. 3, 1998.
Xavi, a midfield maestro, has had many successes at club level, including seven La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies. He has also been coached by some of the best managers in the world including Van Gaal, Frank Rijkaard and Guardiola.
Speaking before the game, Xavi said he was proud of his achievement, reported the International Business Times' Jason Le Miere:
It makes me proud to have played so many games. Barca is the best club you can play for. I want to get to 800 or more [games]. I’ve experienced the best and the worst of times in Barca’s history. We had the five-year drought and then we experienced a period of success with the treble, the six trophies and two Champions Leagues.
But Xavi may not be at the Catalan club next season, as he has been linked with a move to the MLS in America, reports Matt Law of The Telegraph.
According to Law, New York City FC are hoping to sign Xavi as their "marquee signing." The club is part of Manchester City's MLS franchise.
Man City director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano still have links to Barcelona, and they see the Spaniard as the perfect face of their new team, says Law.
Xavi's future was in the balance last week when he suggested that he could see out his playing days elsewhere by saying, “Being tied to Barcelona is a privilege, but I don’t know what will happen in the future,” per Law.
A Ballon d'Or finalist on three occasions (2009, 2010 and 2011), Xavi has appeared in 143 European games, a record only topped by legends Raul (144) and Ryan Giggs (149). His 700th appearance for Baca marks yet another impressive achievement.