Xavi Hernandez is returning at Barcelona as the club's new head coach. Xavi, 41, is set to stage his grand return to the club where he won everything. He won't be on the touchline for Saturday's trip to Celta Vigo, as he will officially take charge after the international break.
The Catalans dismissed Ronald Koeman last month after just 14 months and 67 games in charge after they slumped to ninth in LaLiga, 14 points off the top spot. And now they have turned to a club legend.
Xavi has been cutting his teeth in management out in Qatar as head coach of Al Sadd since hanging up his boots at the club in May 2019.
He returns as an undoubted fan favourite, having played an integral role in Barca's last great era of success -- a midfield metronome keeping things ticking over in that dominant team alongside the likes of Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Lionel Messi.
Indeed, Xavi has won all there is to win as a player with both club and country, with an enviable CV that few in world football could hope to better.
As perhaps one of the game's best ever at No. 6, here are six of his greatest achievements and performances during his playing days.
Player of the tournament at Euro 2008
Spain were utterly untouchable at the 2008 European Championship and one look at their stellar squad reveals why, with coach Luis Aragones able to call upon Xavi, Iniesta, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, Fernando Torres, Santi Cazorla and Xabi Alonso ... just to name a handful.
The Barca midfielder's match-controlling influence was duly recognised by UEFA, who named him player of the tournament.
Winning the sextuple with Barca in 2009
After conquering Europe with Spain over the summer, Xavi headed back to Barcelona where he continued to dominate on the club front in the 2008-09 campaign.
Barca became the first Spanish club to win the treble during Pep Guardiola's first season in charge. They won LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League before going on to complete a calendar year sextuple by adding the Spanish Super Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup to their haul.
Xavi pulled the strings throughout but the midfielder's crowning performance surely came as he laid on four assists in Barca's biggest win of the season -- a 6-2 demolition of Real Madrid in front of an absolutely baffled Bernabeu crowd.
World Cup winner
While the 2010 World Cup final itself has gone down in infamy, with Netherlands' bruising tactics failing to derail Spain, few can argue that the right team won. Andres Iniesta scored the only goal in the 116th minute to give Spain the world title.
Spain systematically obliterated their opponents with a dizzying barrage of passes, taking 5,966 touches to score just eight goals during the entire tournament.
Xavi was once again deployed as the midfield architect and subsequently completed more successful passes (413) than any other player during the tournament, and also created more goal-scoring chances (25) -- eight more than any other player.
Running the 2011 Champions League final
Already famed for his accurate and constructive passing, Xavi excelled himself in the 2011 Champions League final as Barcelona made light work of dismantling Manchester United at Wembley.
United were infamously "passed to death" at Wembley as Xavi set the tone, ending the evening with a formidable 95% passing accuracy rate (from 148 completed passes) as well as the trophy hoisted above his head.
He also provided the pinpoint assist for Messi's towering header, Barca's second goal of the night.
🗣️Leo Messi: "He is the best player in the history of Spanish football."— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 25, 2019
🅰️ Assist in 2009 final 👌
🅰️ Assist in 2011 final 👏
🎁🎂 Happy birthday, Xavi Hernández! 🎂🎁#UCL @FCBarcelona pic.twitter.com/1pP1PWeI9Q
Two assists in the Euro 2012 final
Having won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, Spain made it three on the bounce with yet another mesmerising showing at Euro 2012, including a 4-0 trouncing of Italy in the final.
Xavi became the first player in history to record two assists in a European Championship final as he laid on goals for Jordi Alba and Torres, who scored La Roja's third goal of the game mere minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Flawless performance against PSG
There have been an entire cavalcade of Xavi performances to cherish over the years (the 5-0 Clasico drubbing of Real in stands out) but the game that really served to encapsulate his greatness arguably came in 2013.
Barcelona faced Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarterfinals and after the first leg had finished 2-2 in the French capital, the Catalans knew exactly what had to be done at Camp Nou to ensure their progression through to the semis.
The second leg ultimately finished 1-1 but is perhaps more memorable for being the game in which Xavi completed all 96 of the passes he attempted on the night -- therefore becoming the first player in history to record a flawless 100% pass accuracy rating.
Nobody has matched that record before or since, which speaks volumes of the quality on show that night.