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28.11.2009 17:30

Factor X

Sandra Sarmiento

They are two players who've definitely got the X factor- Xavi and Xabi will be orchestrating their teams on Sunday night – two of Europe's very best playmakers pitting themselves head to head in El Classico.

Xavi is the player who's made the second highest number of league appearances for the club and that's a great record at a club like Barca where the demands are so great every season. Xavi is the epitome of Barca, whilst Xabi Alonso is fast becoming the link between Madrid's defence and attack after joining from Liverpool in the summer.

Guardiola's natural successor

2009-09-22_PARTIDO_12.JPGGuardiola has always been a reference point for Xavi since he joined the club when he was just 11 years old and was groomed as a natural successor in the number 4 shirt Johan Cruyff's teams depended on to organise their play. Xavi was soon spotted as a natural for the position – a player who epitomises Barca's values and lays down the philosphy and style that mark the team out as different from the rest.

Xabi's first El Classico

Xabi Alonso has won the Champions League and been in some prettyu big games, but this is his first Barca-Madrid derby. The Basque midfielder was brought into Madrid to bring some vision to their midfield, though his time at Liverpool with Rafa Benitez also served to improve his defensive abilities

First names on the team sheets

Both Xavi and Xabi Alonso have proved themselves irreplaceable for their managers so far - Xavi has started 10 games and came off the bench in the last league game against Mallorca, whilst Xabi Alonso has missed just two games through injury.
Factor X
International team mates
They will be up against each other on Sunday, but they were teammates in Spain's 2008 European Champions team and will be together as Del Bosque aims to conquer the World Cup next summer in South Africa.

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