XAVI is expected to be named Ronald Koeman’s permanent successor at Barcelona in the coming weeks.
But the Nou Camp legend, 41, will inherit a very different squad to the one he last played in, having reportedly agreed to return to the club.
Xavi’s final two games for Barcelona were the Copa del Rey and Champions League final victories
Xavi bid an emotional farewell to Barca in 2015 before joining Qatari side Al-Sadd – whom he now manages.
The midfield superstar last took to the Nou Camp pitch wearing the blue and red of Barcelona in the Copa del Rey win over Athletic Bilbao, before bringing down the curtain on his career in the Champions League final a week later.
But how did Barcelona line up those evenings?
Xavi himself started on the bench for both matches, with Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic preferred.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was between the sticks for the two finals, with Dani Alves at right-back.
Javier Mascherano joined Gerard Pique in the heart of defence, with Jordi Alba on the left.
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And up front, Barcelona fielded arguably their strongest ever attacking trio – the fearsome MSN.
Lionel Messi started on the right, with Neymar on the left and Luis Suarez spearheading the forward line.
Messi – who quit Barcelona in the summer after 21 years at the club – did the damage early on in the first of the two finals.
The Argentine, now 34 and at Paris Saint-Germain, scored his side’s opener in the 20th minute, before Neymar made it 2-0 before half-time.
Xavi was introduced as a 56th-minute sub, replacing Iniesta, and watched on as Messi grabbed his second to make it 3-0 with 15 minutes to play.
Inaki Williams scored a mere consolation effort in the 79th minute.
And Xavi nearly enjoyed the perfect send-off in added time.
Xavi stepped up ahead of Messi – on a hat-trick at this stage – to take a late free-kick, only to be denied by the post.
It would be the former club captain’s last kick at the Nou Camp, 17 years after his arrival.
A week later, he was given a ten-minute cameo in the 3-1 Champions League final win over Juventus, as Rakitic, Suarez and Neymar all scored, with then-boss Luis Enrique fielding the same starting XI.
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Xavi’s final kick for Barcelona came off the bench in the 3-1 Champions League final win over Juventus
By: Dave Fraser
Title: How Barcelona lined up last time Xavi played for club with fearsome MSN trio up front as legend closes in on manager job
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/16572567/barcelona-lineup-xi-xavi-messi-neymar-suarez/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2021 12:12:04 +0000