Carragher: Forget Gerrard, Barcelona star Xavi the best midfielder of my generation

Pirlo and Xavi Italy Spain

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has praised Barcelona stalwart Xavi ahead of the Champions League final.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has labelled Barcelona star Xavi as the best Spanish player of all time and the best midfielder of his generation in his blog for the Daily Mail.

The Sky Sports pundit, alongside former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville, has often come out with some fairly controversial comments over the past two years.

Among them was his order of best English Premier League midfielders over the past 20 years, where he picked the Reds' departing skipper Steven Gerrard ahead both Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard.

However, speaking ahead of the Champions League final in Berlin, Carragher feels the Premier League’s outstanding trio pale in comparison to Barcelona legend Xavi.

“He is the best Spanish player of all time and the finest midfielder of his type I have seen,” Carragher wrote in his blog for the Daily Mail.

“Whether it is a run-of-the-mill match in Elche, a clasico in the Bernabeu or the Champions League final, Xavi does not change his style.

“More importantly, there isn’t a thing the opposition can do to stop him. It is why he is my favourite performer from my time as a player.

“He isn’t athletic, he isn’t physically imposing and doesn’t score spectacular goals but when he and Andres Iniesta decide at what tempo a game will be played — if he wants to play quicker he says he takes ‘half a touch’ — that is it. You won’t see the ball.”

During his time at the Nou Camp, Xavi has won a whopping 24 major club trophies including three Champions League successes – making him the most decorated Spanish player in history.

Moreover, he has replicated his club form on the international scene, earning a total of 133 caps and helping Spain win a World Cup sandwiched between two successive European Championship triumphs.

Xavi’s influence at all levels means he will go down in history as one of the world’s best ever midfielders and it’s a fitting tribute his final Barca game will be up against another legend in the form of Juventus ace Andrea Pirlo.

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