It was a tall order stepping into the shoes of internationals Guardiola and Albert Celades but Van Gaal had no hesitation in throwing diminutive Xavi into the fray.
The midfielder has found it difficult alternating between first and youth team duties. Some of his big games have been in the Champions League, when injuries and suspensions forced the manager into blooding the youngster in high pressure clashes. Xavi, however, was always up for it and acquitted himself admirably.
He is an excellent midfield organiser who looks to create as much as possible. He has the technical skills you would expect from someone who broke into the team as a teenager. So meteoric has been his rise that he has even relegated the untouchable Guardiola to the bench.
The Spanish under-21 international - an under-20 World Cup winner in 1998 – could boast a League winners medal after the 1998-99 term.
In May 2001 he extended his contract at the club until 2007.
Most Famous For: A Spanish player coming through under Van Gaal.
He Says: "There I´d be, about to board the coach to go away with my Barca B team-mates and I´d be pulled off and told that Van Gaal wants me for a big game. It was difficult playing against Manchester United on Wednesday and then in front of 2,000 on Sunday. But when you´re one of the homegrown players that´s the way it is at a club like Barca. Your team-mates keep your feet on the ground, and you know you have to perform against every kind of opposition."
They Say: "We understand each other very well. He is a great player with a natural instinct to spot players in positions that other players may not even see.
"The pass he made for the goal [against Alaves] was incredible. He saw my run at released the ball at the perfect moment. He truly is a great player." - Barca team-mate Javier Saviola in April 2002.
That yes, he gave brushstrokes of incorporations. It discarded the buys of Van Bommel or of Riquelme because "in the center of the field I have seven or eight players of great level" and he made special mention "of Xavi and Iniesta that can play of double it pivots at a great level". he Also made the characteristic with Rochemback "to the one that I have seen him in the last parties and I like their winning attitude."
well maybe he will get promoted, hes also keen on victor valdes
It doesn`t look that bad does it but maybe we won`t have Rivo or Kluivert but if we don`t get any good offers we might keep em both, Van Gaal has said he wants Rivo to play on the wing again and Rivo has accepted thats very good...He is way better then Overmars and always scores goals...