Barcelona coach Luis Enrique hails “genius” Xavi Hernandez

Xavi Hernandez Barcelona

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Barcelona coach Luis Enrique says Xavi Hernandez is the best midfielder in the history of football and is irreplaceable at Camp Nou.

The 35-year-old midfielder played his final La Liga game for Barcelona on Saturday and lifted the trophy after a 2-2 draw with Deportivo.

Last week Xavi announced he would be joining Qatari side Al Sadd this summer, ending his 24-year affiliation with the club he joined as an 11-year-old in 1991.

He has been the heartbeat of the Barcelona team in recent years, helping the club win La Liga in five of the last seven seasons, and he was just as important in the Spain team that won back-to-back European Championships and a World Cup.

Barca are now preparing for life without the midfielder and are being linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan to make up for his exit, but Enrique insists there is no player in the world who can replace Xavi.

“There is no replacement for Xavi,” Enrique said.

“You cannot replace unique players,” added the former Barca and Spain midfielder. “I, as a coach, and those who come after me will have to adapt to different types of player.

“Xavi is a football genius and he is the best midfielder in the history of the game.”

Xavi could sign off his Barcelona career with a treble this season, with the club preparing to face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on May 30 before next month’s Champions League final against Juventus.

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