Xavi Simons has had an eventful football career at the age of just 19. After finding his love for football at Spanish club Thader, the son of Dutch footballer Regillio Simons joined FC Barcelona’s acclaimed ‘La Masia’ academy at the age of just seven.
The midfielder went on to become one of the most highly-rated graduates from the academy and tore through the system at the youth level.
But after failing to agree on a contract with Barcelona and seeing them go through a tough time, Simons opted to leave them and join PSG following a lucrative offer from them in 2019.
As fate would have it, things did not work for him in the other rising European giants either.
He did rise through the ranks to play for the senior team but only made six appearances in two seasons for them. After failing to get regular football, the 19-year-old opted to leave to join Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven.
Simons came a full circle with his career with a lot of his years still ahead. He’s now playing in the country he was born into and trying to find his best form at a club where the scrutiny levels – at least from the global fanbase – are less brutal.
But that does not mean that the 19-year-old is being treated as some kind of a ‘crown jewel’ by the Eredivisie club. It’s quite the opposite.
Managed by Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy, PSV has developed a club policy that holds everyone at an equal status.
That means Simons gets the same punishment as any player of his age group. He found that the hard way after breaking some club rules in a training session recently.
The PSV players decided to teach him a lesson about humility by making him clean their boots after a training session.
There was quite a simple explanation behind that. They just want to keep him grounded and ensure Simons doesn’t start thinking of himself as this big star that won’t be punished or held accountable for his mistakes.
The 19-year-old probably didn’t get this kind of treatment at a club like Barca or PSG, because such things in those teams can turn into first-page news and cause a massive PR issue that reflects badly on the management.
Simons doesn’t appear to be too happy to have to clean the boots of his teammates, which is quite understandable as he has had a pretty privileged upbringing thanks to his ex-footballer father and living in luxurious environments at his previous teams.
If not anything else, this sets a nice example for the ‘major’ European sides to do with their young players that are in danger of forming an ego.
Perhaps teams like PSG and Barcelona can come up with a such policy to ensure their younger players keep themselves humble and don’t start thinking that they are bigger than the team itself.
Simons might still be adapting to the off-the-pitch rules at PSV, but he’s blended into the team impressively.
The 19-year-old has already scored 11 goals and provided 4 assists in just 24 appearances for them and starting to play to his utmost potential again.