Xavi announces Barcelona exit after 24 years at the club, to join Qatar side Al-Sadd
Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavier Hernandez, popularly known as Xavi, has announced that he will leave the Catalan club at the end of the season. The 35-year-old veteran announced his decision on Thursday and he will soon be joining Al-Sadd in Qatar after 17 years in the first team.
At the press conference announcing his departure, Xavi said: “I'd like to announce that I'm leaving Barça after this season. The decision is definitive yet difficult,”
Xavi has been at the club since 1991. He joined as a 11-year-old and spent his entire youth career at Barcelona’s La Masia academy. He broke into the Barcelona B team in 1997 before making his first team debut in August 1998.
During his time at Barcelona, he has won three Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups, eight La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys andsix Supercopa de Espana titles. He has also played for Spain in the Olympics (silver medal in 2000) and international tournaments winning the World Cup once (2010) and Euro twice (2008 and 2012)
I couldn’t have had a better career: Xavi
Xavi said: “I'm happy to have stayed at Barça this year. It was tough to make a decision. I'm very happy. I couldn't have had a better career.
“I'm a Barça product. I think I've performed very well, I've done what I was taught. I want to thank the fans. They've been great to me,”
Speaking on his new adventure in Qatar’s Al-Sadd, which will only be his second club in a long and illustrious career, he said: “I think the Qatar project is nice, and it's ideal for me. In the future I'd like to come back to Barça.”
“I want to keep playing. I know I can still perform, although it'll be in a lower level league.”
Xavi also explained that he had an offer to renew with Barcelona but chose not to after a season where he only played 41 times in all competitions, mostly as a substitute.
“I had a very good offer to renew with Barça, but I didn't even tell my mother!”
Opportunity to make history as season ends: Xavi
Xavi has played in more than 750 games for Barcelona (the most by any player in the club’s history). And they will look to add two more trophies this season – the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League.
"We have a unique opportunity to make history," Xavi said. “It's going to be tough for me not wearing the Barça shirt. I have three games left.”
With a transfer ban preventing the club from signing players for one more window, Xavi was convinced the club would still do well.
“Barça will continue to be great without me. I'm convinced,”