Xavi: Learn to keep possession

Barcelona’s master craftsman reveals the training drills that fine-tuned his precision passing

“Our team struggles to keep hold of the ball, especially in midfield. What drills should we be doing to make better use of our possession?
Rob Woodhead, via Twitter

More after the break

Xavi says:

"Possession football is as much a state of mind as anything technical. Thirty years ago at Barcelona, Johan Cruyff installed our style, which transferred to Spain under Luis Aragones.

We had no other option because other teams and countries had better physiques than us, but we were among the best technical players in the world.

The first thing you should do is the rondo: a circle of players keeping the ball away from two in the middle. Do that for 20 minutes before every training session and game. It’s a mental game. If you lose the ball, you go in the middle to defend.

You have to conserve the ball and learn that the worst thing you can do is lose it, because otherwise your whole team is defending. This philosophy is ingrained in us and has become second nature.

Possession drills, played without goals, are also essential. You learn how to play with one or two touches and give the ball in the best condition to your team-mates. Talent and years of practice: these are the fundamental bases for tiki-taka."

Xavi wears the Adidas Samba Collection Predator, the boot that challenges players to ‘Hunt or be Hunted’. Follow @adidasfootball on Twitter: #allin or nothing

For more football tips see:
Pass like Xavi
Xavi: Master the pass
Andres Iniesta: How to boss the midfield
Playmaking the Xavi way
Pass with Xavi's precision: Drill one
Pass with Xavi's precision: Drill two
Pass with Xavi's precision: Drill three
Pass with Xavi's precision: Drill four
Pass with Xavi's precision: Drill five

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