Pitchside Europe

Ballon d’Eurosport – No.14: Xavi

Pitchside

View gallery

.

This summer Eurosport is counting down the world's greatest footballers, as voted by our international network of journalists. We will reveal one player per day, culminating in the election of the first Ballon d'Eurosport on July 19.

The Ballon d'Eurosport explained.

He might be approaching the latter stages of a glorious career with Barcelona and Spain, but there remain few more recognisable faces on our list than the imperious midfield playmaker Xavi.

Xavi, a sprightly 33 and a one-club man, has been a figure at the forefront of Barcelona's rise to the top of the European game and Spain's rebirth as one of the greatest national football sides to have played the game over the past six years.

Xavi's career is dripping with records and trinkets. Winning 123 caps with Spain, he helped his national side snare the 2010 World Cup, and the European Championships of 2008 and 2012.

At club level, Xavi has played his part in helping Barcelona snare the Champions League three times, La Liga seven times amid two Copa del Rey successes.

Xavi has been nominated fives times for the Ballon d'Or, finishing third in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

His reputation as a figure who can keep possession and earn space in tight spaces was confirmed when he was named player of the tournament at Euro 2008 after Spain's 1-0 win over Germany in the final. He was named the tournament's most prodigious passer at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

Despite Spain's 3-0 drubbing by Brazil in the final of the 2013 Confederations Cup on Sunday evening, Xavi will harbour serious hopes of returning to Rio de Janeiro with a real flourish when Spain bid to retain the World Cup next summer.

---

How Eurosport voted

We asked the editorial teams of 10 countries/areas around the Eurosport network to compile their list of the world's 25 best players.

Then we did the sums, Eurovision-style. It's simple: a first-place vote is worth 25 points, second place is 24... all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

View gallery

.

The Ballon d'Eurosport so far
30-Sergio Aguero
29-Sergio Ramos
28-Wayne Rooney
27-Yaya Toure
26-Arjen Robben
25-Mario Balotelli
24-Juan Mata
23-Manuel Neuer
22-Thomas Mueller
21-Marco Reus
20-Mesut Ozil
19-Neymar
18-Arturo Vidal
17-Mario Goetze
16-Thiago Silva
15-Philipp Lahm

View comments (31)
Write for Yahoo Sport