How is it that a 5'6" midfielder who can't win a header, doesn't score goals, and can barely tackle is the best player in Spanish football history?
It's quite simple, really.
He has done what no Spanish player before him has been able to: transform the national team into contenders. Spain are the reigning European champions, and for the first time in their history, they have realistic aspirations to win the World Cup.
Xavi, more than anyone else, deserves the credit.
Two of the best footballing sides on the planet are the current Spanish team and Barcelona. Xavi is the motor of both. The other players play, but he calls the tune. They go where he directs them with his passes and give the ball back when he offers himself for a return pass.
There is plenty of other talent around him, sure. The credit is obviously not ALL his.
Yet, when so many other teams struggle to fit their most talented players into their team without sacrificing the defense, Spain can fill the team with small, creative players because they so rarely lose the ball. Their theoretical defensive frailty is rarely exposed because their opponents get so few chances to attack.
Xavi is the key to this playing style.
He floats around the field passing and receiving, creating brief moments of numerical superiority to open up space between defenders. He turns on a dime and faints and shimmies with such effectiveness that opponents rarely get near the ball when he is carrying it.
His passes are so accurate and well-weighted that his teammates never worry about controlling the ball and can think ahead to what they plan to do with it. When Xavi does find an opening, there is no better player in the world at making the defense-splitting pass.
Spain and Barcelona cannot play the way they do without him. The "Tiqui-Taka" style of play built around him was once ridiculed in parts of the Spanish press, but the results it has brought have silenced all doubters.
This Spain side has been able to make their most dangerous rivals look ordinary, and even helpless. This bodes well for Spain's World Cup chances, and it speaks wonders for little Xavi.
Were he taller, prettier, or more charismatic, he would surely have won the Balon d'Or by now, but we can take comfort in the knowledge that we are all privileged to be able to watch an all-time great at the height (excuse the pun) of his powers.