Tim Brown:

Soccer-Xavi makes landmark 700th Barcelona appearance


BARCELONA, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Barcelona playmaker Xavi came off the bench against Getafe on Thursday to mark his 700th appearance for the club where he has been a key figure in their success in recent seasons.

The 33-year-old came through Barcelona's famous La Masia youth system and was given his debut by Louis van Gaal in 1998.

Following the arrival of Pep Guardiola as coach in 2008, Xavi enjoyed most success as the lynchpin of Barca's quick-passing football, known as tiki-taka.

Xavi has won 22 trophies at Barcelona including three Champions Leagues and seven La Liga titles. He has also been a key member of the Spanish national side that won the 2010 World Cup and back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

"I am proud to have played so many games and Barca is the best club to be at," Xavi told Mundo Deportivo.

"I have experienced the worst and the best in the history of Barca. The dry spell (from 1999-2004) and then the run of success where we won the triple (2008-09), the six trophies (in 2009) and the three Champions Leagues." (Reporting by Tim Hanlon; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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