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El Loco highlights the recent relegation of Xavi to Barcelona's bench after Cesc Fabregas has shown a rise in form but still feels that the 'Puppet Master' has a place at Nou Camp

HOLA!

With due respect, midfield maestro Xavi seems to be losing his regular spot with Barcelona under manager Gerardo 'Tata' Martino.

Based on Martino's operations as of late, everything pointing to the 33-year-old Xavi has been reduced to bench-warming.

The latest was in the Catalans' 4-0 win over Ajax Amsterdam in a Champions League Group H match at Nou Camp on Wednesday where Xavi came in as a substitute.

Xavi's place was taken over by Cesc Fabregas and the former Arsenal captain once again performed to assist in the convincing win where Lionel Messi struck a hatrick with Gerard Pique scoring the other goal.

The 26-year-old Fabregas seems to have finally earned the status as a regular after struggling last season so much so, he was said to be heading back to England during the last transfer window.

Fabregas, who has been working hard since pre-season, is set to partner Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets as regulars in midfield.

Xavi's fans, understandably, may not be too happy with the latest development but Fabregas has been performing consistently to deserve a place in the first XI.

Fabregas has also formed this lethal combination with Messi and 'new boy' Neymar as Barca mount their challenge for success both domestically and in Europe this season.

Picture this: Fabregas is now on top of the assists chart with four in the Primera Liga. Nonetheless, he has yet to score a goal.

Martino loves Fabregas' contributions for the team and thus the benching of the already legendary Xavi.

Xavi's good vision, pinpoint accurate passing and world class ball control allows him to dictate the flow of play whilst rarely relinquishing possession.

His ability to completely control matches has earned him the nickname of the "Puppet Master".

Xavi, is also known as 'Humphrey Bogart' to some admirers.

Bogart, of course, is the Hollywood superstar who was loved by many for his acting in the classic movie Casablanca.

For the record, Xavi is one of the loyal few in Barca as he has been with them since starting his youth career way back in 1991.

He was promoted to Barca B in 1997. He started his illustrious adventures with the senior team in 1998 (while still with the B team).

He has now played 447 games for Barca in Primera Liga and scored 54 goals.

Xavi has this credit of winning the Primera Liga seven times, Champions League three tines, UEFA Super Cup twice and FIFA Club World Cup twice.

He has 128 caps for Spain and scored 11 goals. He was also part of the Spain team who won the World Cup in 2010 and European championships in 2008 and 2012.

Simply a remarkable career. One could not ask for more if he has these kinds of records.

All good things must come to an end though, as age is beginning to take its toll on Xavi.

But still, he is very much in Martino's plans as the Spaniard will give that option in midfield in case of injuries or suspensions.

Xavi is still handy, no doubt about this.

So it will not be a surprise if Xavi will play from the start in Barca's away match against Rayo Vallecano in a Primera Liga match on Sunday (1am, Malaysian time).

On another note, Barca are looking to find different playing styles to surprise their opponents, even if this might spark a change from their usual modus operandi.

Messi is just one of the players who defends a variation of tactics on the field of play this season.

"The more variations we have, the better.

"There will be days when it's better to have the ball and move it around the park, and others when it will be better to park the bus and play for the counter-attack.

"We have fast players and good passers," he stressed.

Sexy Barca parking the bus?

Why not? They can employ this tactic, once a while, if it helps winning titles. 

Adios!

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