News Live Scores
Barcelona

Who is Xavi Simons? La Masia wonderkid who broke Barcelona hearts to join PSG

16:20 BST 24/07/2019
Xavi Simons Netherlands 2019
He shares a name with one of the greatest Barcelona players of all time and the Parisians will be hoping he fulfils his potential

Paris Saint-Germain have swooped to sign Xavi Simons from Barcelona in what the Ligue 1 club can consider somewhat of a coup.

In luring such a highly rated La Masia prospect away from the clutches of the Catalan giants, PSG have secured a player who has been touted as one of the game's future stars for quite a while.

"At age 16, Xavi is among the most promising players in Dutch football," a PSG statement declared following his arrival in the French capital.

"With a high technical quality and an excellent vision of the game, this young talent will now continue his training at the Rouge et Bleu."

Simons, who is in Mino Raiola's stable of talent, has signed a three-year deal and, while he is not expected to play straight away, the aim will undoubtedly be to graduate into the first team by 2022.

"Thank you [PSG] for believing in me and challenging me to achieve my full potential at your club," the midfielder said after everything was confirmed. "I can't wait to start training and working hard."

As the teenager gets set to open a new chapter at Parc des Princes, Goal brings you everything you need to know about him.

Who is Xavi Simons?

Xavi Simons is a Dutch footballer who plays in midfield for PSG.

He is the son of Regillio Simons, a former footballer and coach who plied his trade for a number of Eredivisie clubs, including Fortuna Sittard and NAC Breda.

Simons was born on April 21, 2003 and his father, who is a Barcelona fan, named him after former Blaugrana star Xavi Hernandez.

He joined Barcelona in 2010 at the age of seven and quickly became one of La Masia's leading lights as he was appointed captain of various youth teams.

Being a midfielder and sharing a name with one of Barca's best players in recent times has inevitably led to comparisons and Simons has embraced the pressure of expectation.

Indeed, he refers directly to the Xavi playbook when it comes to his attitude to the game.

"I prefer to assist than to score. For me, assists are the most important," Simons said in a 2017 interview with freestyle footballer Soufiane Touzani.

"When I score, I am happy, but if a team-mate scores I am also happy. So I prefer to assist because it's good for the team."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Simons' prodigious ability has also drawn unhelpful comparisons with Lionel Messi as one of La Masia's brightest prospects. However, they are very much different types of players.

Indeed, the teenager is much less inclined to embark on a mazy dribble than the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, which may come as a disappointing revelation to some.

"I'm more into position play," Simons said in the same interview with Touzani.

"I don't like tricks, but when it is necessary I'll do a trick. I'm more into tiki-taka."

Which national team does Xavi Simons play for?

Xavi Simons was born in Amsterdam and has represented the Netherlands at Under-15 and Under-16 levels.

Interestingly, his residence in Spain may be enough to render him eligible for La Roja too. An individual can apply for Spanish citizenship if they are resident in the country for 10 years.

For now, it looks like he will continue to play for the Oranje, but, per FIFA's eligibility rules, he will not be permanently tied to a national team until he plays a senior competitive match.

How many social media followers does Xavi Simons have?

Despite his youth, Simons already has nearly 2 million followers combined across his various social media pages.

His Instagram page is by far the most popular platform with 1.7 million followers (as of July 2019) and he has around 37,000 followers on Twitter. On Facebook, Simons' page has approximately 120,000 'likes'.

The midfielder uses his social media channels to share the same sort of content as most footballers: match photos, posts that form part of commercial deals, personal news and occasional candid shots.

The size of his following should increase significantly after his move to PSG and as he progresses with the Ligue 1 giants.