Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reckons departing Barcelona captain and midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez deserved to have won the world football player award, the Ballon d’Or, at some point during his career.
The Spaniard, 35, will join Qatar side Al Sadd at the end of the season, bringing the curtains down on a 17-year senior career with Barcelona which has seen him lift 23 trophies.
And Chelsea manager Mourinho, who worked with Xavi during his time as Barcelona assistant coach between 1996 and 2000, reserved special praise for the Blaugrana legend.
“I’m completely honest to say that Xavi is one of the world’s best players over the past decade and he deserves to win what he will never have — a Ballon d’Or success,” Mourinho said on Saturday.
Barcelona captain Xavi has the chance to end his time in Catalonia with a second treble success in six seasons.
He will lift his eighth La Liga title against Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, before Luis Enrique’s side contests the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals.