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Xavi Hernandez 'is Spain's greatest'

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has lauded Xavi Hernandez as Spain’s best-ever footballer, while aiming another sly jab at his former colleagues Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola.

• Xavi may not end career with Barca
• Xavi: Barca can lay marker at Atletico

Xavi, 33, has played over 700 games for Barca and won every club trophy available, while also gaining more than 100 international caps as he claimed a World Cup and two European Championships with La Roja.

And Rosell, speaking as he presented the midfielder with a Blaugrana supporters’ group fair play award for last season, said it was clear that such achievements were unrivalled in the history of the Spanish game.

“With his numbers there is no discussion,” Rosell said. “[Xavi] is the best player in Spanish football history. A myth who makes things easy.”

Many of Xavi’s best days at club level came when Guardiola was coach, Joan Laporta was president and Cruyff was a key figure in the background as the team appeared to perfect the tiki-taka style -- a philosophy that many would argue was introduced by Cruyff to the Camp Nou back when he was a player in the 1970s.

Rosell and Laporta were once colleagues on the Barca board, but are now sworn enemies, with Cruyff and Guardiola firmly in Laporta’s camp.

The current Blaugrana chief said that Xavi, along with current teammates Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets, were actually those who had developed the club’s trademark way of playing the game, rather than Cruyff and Guardiola.

“I have always said that Xavi, Andres and Leo, with help from Busquets, were the inventors of tiki-taka,” Rosell said. “Tiki-taka is not a philosophy that Barca have had since its foundation. Tiki-taka was invented by these three, plus Busquets. Tiki-taka is Xavi’s registered trademark. The day he is not here I do not know if we will be able to continue with it.”

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