There’s nothing average about this 12-year-old
He stands at just over four feet, weighs no more than 80 pounds soaking wet and looks like your average 12-year-old boy from around the way.
But do not be fooled because there is absolutely nothing average about Xavi Simons, who is among the most talented players coming up through the junior ranks at Barcelona, the champions of European club football.
Named after Xavi Hernández, the star midfielder who was at the heart of the tiki-taka revolution that defined Barcelona and Spain before moving to Qatar at the end of last season, young Xavi possesses all the footballing traits to be found in the Catalan way: passion, intensity and maturity beyond his years.
Such is Xavi’s potential, he has attracted the interest of other European clubs such as Chelsea, who offered his parents a big-money deal which they rejected after being convinced by Barcelona hierarchy that their son has a bright future at the Nou Camp.
With expectations running high, the pressure is on the son of Regillio Simons, the Ajax academy coach and a former professional footballer, to live up to his enormous promise. So far he has coped well with the burden of expectation.
“Even though people say I am one of the best future prospects at Barcelona, I do not pay attention to those remarks and comments,” Xavi told The Royal Gazette.
“Football is a long journey and I am taking every step as it comes. I just work hard and do my thing every time I go on the pitch.”
The youngster has travelled to Bermuda to take part in BAA’s Summer Football School, which is an extension of the World Sports Academy programme open to players aged between 8 and 14.
“Xavi is one of the most recognised players in youth world football,” Kenny Thompson, the BAA technical director, said.
“At his age, he is considered very highly as a Barcelona player, which gives the Bermuda players an opportunity to interact first-hand with a player operating at the very top.”
So far, Xavi, whose long, curly golden locks stand out just as much as his incredible football talent, has adopted well to island life.
“Bermuda is very beautiful,” he said. “But it is very hot, so I am only drinking water.
“I like the beaches and the houses here and the people are very nice. The football is also good and I have already met many new friends.”
Xavi joined La Masia when he was just 7 after being spotted by Guillermo Amor, the former academy coach.
“I have known him since he was 8,” Thompson added. “The first time I saw him at the Barcelona training centre, I could tell that everything about him spoke high quality — and this was just him arriving at the training centre.
“Once he got on the pitch, it validated everything that he’s a very top player in so many different aspects.”