Ex-Barcelona starlet Xavi Simons makes Netherlands debut in World Cup last 16

PSV midfielder Xavi Simons ahead of his international debut for Netherlands against USA.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Barcelona youngster Xavi Simons has made his international debut for the Netherlands in a World Cup knockout match after coming on a substitute against USA in the teams' last-16 clash on Saturday.

Simons, now at PSV Eindhoven after making only a handful of appearances at previous club Paris Saint-Germain, is still only 19 years old.

The teenager, who was named after Barcelona and Spain great Xavi, left the Catalan club for PSG in 2019.

He has played for the Oranje at Under-15, U-16, U-17, U-19 and U-21 level, but was a somewhat surprise inclusion in Louis van Gaal's World Cup squad.

Simons has a huge following on social media, with over four million followers on Instagram, but his career on the pitch has yet to live up to the hugh expectations from his junior years at La Masia.

The Amsterdam-born midfielder joined PSV last summer, but Paris Saint-Germain have retained a buy-back clause and could take him back to the Parc des Princes in 2023.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.