What Xavi Proves About the Growth of the MLS
By Blake Lovell
After pretty much everyone under the sun thought he was heading to New York City FC and the MLS, Xavi Hernandez has apparently had a change of plans.
According to reports, he has decided to return to Barca for another season after promising talks with manager Luis Enrique.
A lot of soccer fans in the US were salivating over the possibility of seeing the Spanish midfielder joinDavid Villa and Frank Lampard in New York, but it looks like Xavi's Barcelona swan song will have to wait another year.
He is without question one of the most respected players in the game, having put in 23 years with Barca after starting at the team's youth academy as a young child.
I think we can all agree that it's only a matter of time before Xavi heads to America, with next year likely now being the target date.
You would also think that New York City FC will once again be the likely landing spot since that club is willing to spend the money to try and make a splash once it officially begins play in the MLS during the 2015 season.
Although the MLS is still struggling to get the best younger talents in the world, you can't deny the fact that it has become increasingly more effective in luring former superstars in the twilight of their careers to the league.
Sure, we all would have loved to see a player like Xavi play in the MLS during his prime, but the league has certainly come a long way from where it once was. Back in the day, the chances of getting a player like this were abysmal. Now, it's starting to become the norm.
So while we all continue to hope for a brighter future for the MLS, it's important to remember the difference between where we were and where we are now.
David Villa, Xavi, and Lampard may be shells of their former selves, but the fact that we are even getting a chance to see them on a regular basis speaks volumes about how far American has come in soccer.
The MLS will one day be one of soccer's elite leagues, as it simply has to much upside not to. It's going to take a lot of work and a dedicated approach to get there, however, it will happen.
But for now, let's just enjoy what these players have to offer as they wind down careers that most players could only dream of.