Xavi has confirmed he will not play in the Premier League during the twilight of his career, stating his "first, second and third option" is staying at Barcelona.
As reported by The Sun (subscription required) and via Sky Sports, despite spending the best part of 17 years at the Camp Nou, the Spanish maestro isn't interested in a change of scenery:
There was always talk United or Chelsea or City and Arsenal wanted to sign me but never anything concrete
My thinking was always clear. I am such a Barcelona fan, so my first, second and third option is always Barca.
Xavi also stated he wishes to remain in Catalonia "forever" before saying "the big English clubs know getting Xavi is impossible." Even so, the World Cup winner suggests he would have enjoyed participating in the Premier League and engulfing himself into the culture of English football:
I've no regrets at all, but I still think at times that I would have loved to play in England. You 'live' football over there.
People respect you more. It's more difficult to find respect in Spain. There is more criticism here. In England, a player who's won many things is more respected than in Spain.
Xavi's career is defined by endless team success with Barcelona and Spain—including seven La Liga titles, three Champions League wins, Euro 2008 glory and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa—but his fabled partnership with Andres Iniesta has defined the generation's prolonged run of silverware.
Blessed with hawk-like vision, Xavi is one of world football's tidiest ever midfielders. He looks for the simple pass, prioritises ball retention and will prowl the centre for an opportunity to set an attacking move on its way.
He defines La Blaugrana's style of play, and indeed, their haul of silverware since the turn of the century.
Xavi has a special place for English football in his heart, namely the talent of former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes. He called the Englishman a "spectacular player" in 2011, suggesting he is "the most complete" player to have stepped on the pitch, as reported by Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail.
It's telling how comparable Xavi and Scholes' styles are, although there's certainly a case for the Barca midfielder being a more useful tackler. Scholes, famed for his consistent ability to rack up yellow cards, wasn't the type of individual to regain the ball without hacking through his man.
Xavi has made 24 appearances across La Liga and the Champions League this season, per WhoScored.com. He has scored three and assisted five, completing 93.2 percent of his passes each match. Although the 34-year-old is starting to slow down, he remains a key player for Gerardo Martino.
While it is disappointing to have never witnessed Xavi in the Premier League, he deserves total respect for being a one-club man throughout his career.
He draws another comparison to Scholes in this way. Xavi has racked up a world-renowned reputation, huge amounts of silverware and the admiration of fellow professionals, fans and rivals due to his unblemished dedication to Barcelona's cause.
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