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World Football: Identifying the Next 15 Xavis and Iniestas (Video Slideshow)

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World Football: Identifying the Next 15 Xavis and Iniestas (Video Slideshow)
Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

So Barcelona is at it again! They're tearing apart opponents in Spanish League and domestic competitions as well as in the UEFA Champions League after last week's humbling of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal team.

Two players who have been critical to this success and who have been pivotal in the rise of Barcelona under manager Josep Guardiola are midfielders who make up for what they lack in physical presence with often surreal levels of intelligent passing and movement, skill and vision: Xavier Hernández i Creus and Andrés Iniesta Luján.

Spanish football analyst Guillem Balague once described in a column in The Times Online the role of the former, Xavi, as thus: "He gives way to the soloists, dictates the tempo, shows the way. If Xavi keeps the ball for long enough, Barcelona govern the match; if the team lose sight of him, the Catalan side forget their philosophy."

During last year's World Cup in South Africa, BBC correspondent Johnathan Stevenson highlighted Iniesta's rise to fame: "No more just the sublimely talented creator who lives in the shadows of supposedly more illustrious teammates; now it is the boy from Fuentealbilla near Albacete in the east of Spain who reigns supreme."

So, I was given a brief by the B/R Football Staff to identify the young players who could fill two pairs of boots which are probably small in physical size but vast figuratively speaking.

Therefore, I have put together the following video slideshow according to several criteria: similar playing style to either player, below the age of 22, not yet world famous.

Please send me your comments. I am sure you'll have plenty to debate with me!

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