After a long summer saga, it seems like Xavi is set to stay at FC Barcelona, which might be a catalyst to a very successful season at the club.

One of the topics that dominated the summer – at least its early part – as far as Barcelona were concerned were the rumours of Xavi Hernandez possibly leaving the club after 23 years of loyal service at every level; which saw him become one of the club’s most legendary and iconic players ever. But in the end, much to the delight of many Barcelona fans, it looks like Xavi will stay and be a part of Luis Enrique’s plans for 2014/2015 and further add to his all-time record for apperances with the Barcelona jersey – 723 with the first team and 61 with the B team for a total of 784.

Some people have questioned whether the 34-year-old still has anything left to give to the club, but this is a question that has a very obvious answer: Xavi might not be in the same physical (and mental) shape he was in his prime, but class is permanent and that’s the one thing Xavi has in abundance. What he brings to the table simply can’t be replaced in any way.

Xavi might no longer be able to play every minute of every match, or anything close to that, but he’s still a great option to have in the squad and if his fitness is properly managed there’s every chance he will get to play a decisive role at some key points in the season. His vision and passing ability are still there, even if not as consistently as before, and his experience is very valuable.

Barcelona have been arguably the most successful club of the XXI century so far and the one common denominator in every single successful Barcelona squad in that period is Xavi, be it as a promising upstart, one of the world’s best players or a fading force. If there’s someone who knows the club and knows how to win, that’s Xavi. His tenure at Barcelona has seen him win 23 trophies, including 7 La Ligas and 3 Champions Leagues, not to mention his huge role in Spain’s unprecedented success at the international level.

But not only can Xavi still provide important contributions in terms of his performances, but also in terms of leadership. With Puyol gone, Xavi is the only natural leader remaining at the club and the captain, and leadership is a necessary component to build a successful team. The club’s new signings and youth players will need guidance to adapt quickly to the club and thrive and who better to do it than Xavi? Especially when it comes to Rakitic, the man signed to occupy the position Xavi once did match in match out. Although he’s not the same player he once was, Xavi might still have an important role to play, both on and off the pitch.

The cries for Xavi to leave the club were hasty at best. History shows us that experienced senior players can be very valuable; look no further than Manchester United, who relied on the likes of Giggs and Scholes all through their physical decline, with the great results we know. Xavi might be about to turn 35, but he’s still in very good physical shape and his qualities are still there, he still has something to give to the club he knows and loves.

Xavi is not just another player, he’s a living club legend, a symbol of the club, keeping him around can only prove beneficial, especially right in the aftermath of the retirement of another club icon Carles Puyol – who had fulfilled the role Xavi is expected to fulfill now (sporadic playing time, great leadership) and that one day, in a few years, the likes of Iniesta and Messi will be expected to fulfill.

The only way for a club to remain on top consistently is by ensuring smooth transition between generations, with an idea blend of players in their prime, young players and experienced heads. That’s precisely what Xavi’s stay will help achieve. Him leaving could have potentially left a void impossible to fill. If Barcelona end up winning big titles at the end of the season – and Xavi, as the captain, ends up lifting them – it is very possible that the positive ending to the Xavi summer saga might be remembered by Barcelona supporters as the moment that triggered a successful 2014-2015 campaign.

Xavi isn’t simply a player like any other, who can be easily released once he declines and replaced by a big money signing. He’s a man who epitomizes everything Barcelona is all about, a player who lives and breathes the club and will do everything to see it succeed, and that’s something no amount of money can buy.

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