The forgotten Spanish pass-masters before Xavi’s role revival

In the last decade, we have arguably seen Xavi Hernandez make that position his own. But, just what is ‘that’ position? There is no doubt that it became one of the most important roles in the Barcelona line-up under Xavi’s occupation, though it got us thinking, who else was there before him?

While Barcelona were one of the first clubs to adapt to a 4-3-3 from a 4-4-2 most teams always tended to have a player who could pass the ball well and dictate the tempo of a game. Especially Spanish sides.

Xavi became accustomed to what is the No.8 role in a 4-3-3 just slightly in front of Sergio Busquets and slightly behind Andres Iniesta; essentially making him the heartbeat of the team.

His ability to control the team was attributed to by his razor sharp awareness, vision and above all quality passing ability and it is these traits and characteristics which helped five other Spanish stars before Xavi have a big influence for their clubs. Let’s have a look.

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No doubt an impressive quintet and deciding which one is the best of the lot is an enviable task. Each had their own unique style, though perhaps just for his inventiveness and sheer audacity, Valeron was probably the most pleasing on the eye.

Soon, Xavi’s fellow Barcelona and Spain midfielder schemers; Iniesta and Busquets will step aside which has left many wondering who will be able to step into their shoes as easily, especially considering the formidable five already mentioned. A dilemma many will follow with interest.