Former Liverpool goal-machine: ‘Gerrard is the best I’ve played with’

Former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has claimed Steven Gerrard is the best player he has ever played with.

The statement from the 31-year-old Spaniard heaps an incredible amount of praise on Gerrard, as he was part of arguably one of the best World Cup and European Championship squads ever, playing with the likes of Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.

“I would chose him above all if I had to have him in my team, if I had him behind me,” Torres told Marca. “Steven Gerrard is the best player I have played with throughout my career, therefore my ideal player would be very like him.”

Torres has played with some of the highest quality teams and players in Europe but Gerrard is his number one.

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“It is very difficult to choose because I have had the luck to play with a lot of great footballers. For me, the best is and has been Gerrard,”

Gerrard’s Liverpool career is almost over as he braces himself for the move to MLS with LA Galaxy this summer but he could have a fairytale ending with his boyhood club if Liverpool make it through their FA Cup semifinal this weekend.

The former England captain could lead his side out at Wembley in the final, which falls on the same day as his birthday, in his final appearance for the club before heading off to his exciting new challenge where Galaxy fans eagerly await his arrival.

Do you agree with Fernando Torres that Steven Gerrard is the best played he has played with?

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Xavi snubs New York City interest as huge money move to Qatar agreed – report

FC Barcelona legend Xavi no longer looks likely to complete a move to Major League Soccer with New York City FC as a big money deal has been agreed with Qatar-based side Al Saad, according to Stade Doha.

The 35-year-old midfielder is expected to sign a three-year deal with Al Saad and will earn €10 million per season if the latest reports are to be believed.

Earlier this month, reports emerged suggesting that the Spaniard was looking set to seal a move to NYCFC and he apparently met with representatives from City Football Group as well as his agent and father in Barcelona.

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New York City sporting director, Claudio Reyna confirmed that the MLS Expansion Franchise were interested in signing Xavi back in February.

“We are very interested in ‘franchise’ players like Xavi. We do not close the doors to Xavi ahead of next year,” Reyna said.

But head coach Jason Kreis then poured some cold water over the rumours yesterday by suggesting that a move for Xavi wouldn’t make much sense.

It now looks the man who has made more appearances than any other player in Barcelona history is ready for a new challenge in Qatar.

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The 2010 World Cup winner is expected to fly out to Al Saad in the next couple of days to finalise a move during the current international break but will remain in Spain with Barca until the end of the current season.

Xavi will also begin working on his coaching badges once a move to Qatar is confirmed and will help with the Aspire Academy, which is trying to develop players ahead of the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

Is a move to Qatar a good one for Xavi? Should he have chosen MLS?

New York City FC finalising deal for Barcelona’s Xavi – report

Xavi is one step closer to being a New York City FC player. The Barcelona midfielder met with representatives of the MLS Expansion franchise yesterday as negotiations look set to be finalised.

The 35-year-old midfield ace has been with Barcelona since he was 11 and has played more games for the club than any other player in the club’s history. But he looks set to put a new shirt on for the final chapter of his career.

Xavi was linked with a move away from Barca last summer but after being given assurances that he was still a key part of the first-team by head coach Luis Enrique, he agreed to stay for another year.

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Now it looks likely that he will leave at the end of the current season and a move to New York City is being finalised, according to Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

Xavi reportedly met with representatives from New York City with his father Joaquín and his agent Iván Corretja in Barcelona yesterday.

NYCFC sporting director, Claudio Reyna confirmed last week that the club were still keen on acquiring Xavi and that looks to be a real possibility now.

“We are very interested in ‘franchise’ players like Xavi. We do not close the doors to Xavi ahead of next year,” Reyna said.

“It’s true that we have already tried to sign him, but next year we will need new franchise players.”

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A move to MLS with New York City would see Xavi link up with good friend and former teammate David Villa while he would also form a classy partnership with Frank Lampard in midfield should the move go through.

The Spaniard has made over 700 appearances for Barcelona, winning 22 trophies, and will team up with NYCFC before the start of the 2016 campaign if a deal is agreed.

Would Xavi be a good signing for New York City FC?

New York City FC still keen on signing Xavi

New York City FC have not given up in their pursuit of Spanish midfielder Xavi Hernandez and sporting director Claudio Reyna has confirmed he is still on the MLS Expansion club’s radar.

Xavi was strongly linked with a move to New York City last summer but ended up staying in Spain with FC Barcelona – the club he has been with for 23 years.

The 34-year-old has made over 700 appearances for Barcelona, winning 22 trophies, but could be set for a new challenge before retiring.

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New York City have not given up in their pursuit as Claudio Reyna confirmed to Spanish TV station TV3 this week.

“We are very interested in ‘franchise’ players like Xavi. We do not close the doors to Xavi ahead of next year,” Reyna said.

“It’s true that we have already tried to sign him, but next year we will need new franchise players.”

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A move to MLS with NYCFC would see Xavi reunite with compatriot David Villa while also forming a partnership with Frank Lampard in what would likely be the best midfield pairing in the league.

Xavi’s current contract with Barcelona expires at the end of June 2016 but NYCFC could make an approach this summer in the hope of signing him for a cut price.

Would Xavi be a good signing for New York City FC?

Should Barcelona star Xavi still make the move to MLS?

Reports at the end of last season were that Xavi Hernandez was at the end of his Barcelona career, with a move to Major League Soccer a widely rumoured possibility.

After links to New York City FC, Xavi made a dramatic U-turn on his decision to depart from the Catalan giants and has enjoyed a fruitful term this season.

He has featured 12 times in La Liga so far and netted once. Having a player of his stature is beneficial to any club, no matter how old he is.

At this moment in time it is hard to predict whether or not we will see him make the switch to MLS before he calls time on his playing career.

He will turn 35 in January and could still play at least a couple of seasons after this.

Barcelona will not be looking to let him go easily, but admitted last term that he can decide his own future due to his services to the club over the years.

He would be another great addition to the league. Not just for the Spanish contingency in America, but also players of a similar age across the league.

Bringing crucial experience to every player in the dressing room, he has proved to be one of the coolest characters in difficult games throughout his career.

New York City would have been a brilliant destination for him, linking up with former teammate and Spanish counterpart David Villa.

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It would also see him play alongside Frank Lampard, who he has faced in some of the most memorable European ties between Chelsea and Barcelona in the Champions League.

He may choose the same option as former teammate and club legend Carles Puyol and hang up his boots with his lifelong team.

But it is a situation worth keeping in mind and many people would like to see a move go through, no matter where he ends up.

New York Red Bulls are believed to be looking for a star central midfielder to bring in following the departure of Thierry Henry and New York is Xavi’s most likely destination were he to make the switch.

Should Xavi make the move to MLS?