Xavi anticipating a different

Xavi Hernández came to UEFA EURO 2008™ well recognised, perhaps even pigeon-holed, as the pass-maker supreme but what the 28-year-old Catalan has always desired is to return from this tournament as a history-maker instead.

Success blessed the head of this clever, mobile and talented footballer at a tantalisingly early age. In 1999 he was part of the Spain squad which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup and within a year he had followed that with an Olympic silver medal in Sydney. What is more, he shrugged off the pressure of succeeding FC Barcelona's totemic midfielder Josep 'Pep' Guardiola and won Spain's Primera División in his first full season. It looked that if anyone would make the step up in class from club leader to international winner it was Xavi. However, from then until now it has taken masses of introspection, heartache and critical analysis for Spain to get close to the summit of world or European football. Sunday's final is in sight but while Xavi is driven by the idea of winning the tournament, he is preparing for an intensely difficult challenge against Russia in Thursday's semi-final.

Template by : kendhin x-template.blogspot.com