Guardiola: Xavi can reach 700
© AFP

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola believes that playmaker Xavi could go on to reach 700 games for the club after the Spanish midfielder equalled the club's all-time appearance record in the 2-1 win over Levante on Sunday.

Xavi made his 549th outing in the famous shirt to draw level with legendary centre-half Migueli and, at 30, the midfielder is set to go on and set a new benchmark for future generations to beat. "We wanted to win this game for him (Xavi)," said Guardiola. "I played for many years here and reached 300 games which seemed a lot. If his tendons hold out I think he could reach 700 games."

Xavi, who came through the Barcelona youth system and made his debut back in 1998, refused to talk about future targets and believes one of his current team-mates will go on to break his record. "I hope to continue here for many more years winning trophies," said Xavi. "Behind me (in the appearance list) are Victor (Valdes), (Andres) Iniesta and (Carles) Puyol.

I played for many years here and reached 300 games which seemed a lot. If his tendons hold out I think he could reach 700 games.
Pep Guardiola on Xavi

"Victor (Valdes) and Andres (Iniesta) are still young (Valdes is 28 and Iniesta is 26) and I'm sure they can beat me, however, Carles (Puyol) is two years older than me, so it's not so easy for him. The most important thing is that Barcelona count on players that are proud to pull on the shirt."

Xavi received a tribute after the game and admitted it came as a surprise. "I wasn't expecting it. They didn't tell me a thing," said Xavi. "When I'm not in control of a situation, I get nervous. I felt very much the focus of people's attention.

"People are enjoying Barcelona. We have won titles and we'll try to win more, but I have also suffered bad times. You can't put a price on being loved so much in your own home. I have also been criticised, but I always wanted to triumph here."

Xavi has collected every major piece of silverware with Barcelona in his 12 seasons at the club, lifting five Spanish league titles (1999, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010), the 2009 Copa del Rey and two UEFA Champions League crowns in 2006 and 2009.

With Spain, Xavi has won the 2008 UEFA European Championships and the FIFA 2010 World Cup, and is one of the three players shortlisted for the 2010 FIFA Ballon D'Or along with Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.