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Russia plan squad purge for World Cup

Russia
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

#WorldCupRank: No. 8 Xavi

« Previous: No. 9, Arjen Robben | Next: No. 7, Yaya Toure »

No. 8 Xavi, Barcelona/Spain

Why he's ranked: This brilliant midfielder may have been a little unfortunate to find himself in the same team as Lionel Messi at Barcelona, with the little Argentine often stealing the headlines that could have belonged to Xavi. Yet this Spain midfield string puller doesn't seem to be the type who craves the attention, always letting his eloquent football do the talking.

Xavi's intelligence and flair make him dangerous in the midfield for Spain.

Key stat: Led La Liga (84) and UEFA Champions League (103) this season in passes per game.

What the experts say: "Very few footballers have such football intelligence and are able to apply it so regularly, so quickly and under such pressure as Xavi. Utterly in love with the game he graces, this man's greatness goes beyond what he's won and lost in his career. Someone who makes football more aesthetically pleasing than it was." - Graham Hunter

What You Think:

Other articles:
- Eduardo Alvarez: Is this Xavi's last stand for Spain?
- ESPN FC Blogs: Spain
- #WorldCupRank: Our Top 50 players of the World Cup

« Previous: No. 9, Arjen Robben | Next: No. 7, Yaya Toure »

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