Obviously Xavi is the clear winner here. It's important for both him and us to understand what has changed:
1. Xavi was clearly not mentally active previously. He rarely tried through balls or difficult or risky passes. His game was merely picking the easy pass to an open player, this usually meant most of his passes went sideways or backwards. He is now putting more thought into his game. Being active mentally on his role in the buildup and breaking defenses.
2. More forward play. Xavi was a bit tied down to do his bit defensively. This hampered his game as it is clearly not something he is good at. He usually started at the back trying to get the ball out but became stuck behind. Now his runs come penetrate into the penalty area which has resulted in more options, good one two's, assists and quite a few goals. Important ones.
His game in the first half of the season disappointed me and for me atleast, highlighted exactly what was wrong with our midfield. The change in his game has resulted in good performances both, by Xavi and Barca.
Well like Xavi said and i have always maintained that its Rijkaard who deprived us from Xavi's offensive game!
from the moment he came he's asked Xavi to pull back, pressur in midfield, occasionally he's played his as DM a few seasons ago in the motta and gerard days.
but those who have watched xavi all along know his classy touch in midfield and more so know that when he does go forward he does it in a cool fashion never losing his mind. Xavi is the quiet midfielder who does his damage without causing much fuss or noise. he's the guy who tells you to look at the scoreboard at the end when you trash talk him
bottom line is i that i've missed his classy flicks near the penalty box of which we've recently seen 1 very classy back heel to Messi against Levante. I hope Rijkaard appreciates Xavi's offensive game from now on because it has brought an unexpected surprise to opponents defending in huge numbers against Messi and Co.
finally we have to appreciate Yaya tourre because it is his excellent presence in midfield that has allowed Xavi to move forward to the danger zone.
After the Bilbao game where Xavi reached his peak on backpassing, horizontal football, predictability and playing it safe all the time then comes the last minutes goal versus Osasuna and since then Xavi has been vertical, fast and brave. He has been really great. Now the question is where is Fangio to tell us he is no good? :tongue:
Anw, i'm voting for Eto'o because he is a cool guy and a great striker.