Barcelona’s Xavi signs for Al Sadd

Barcelona’s Xavi signs for Al Sadd
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Published March 28th, 2015 - 22:49 GMT via

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Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona and Spain's Xavi Hernandez, one of the greatest midfielders of the modern era, has signed for Qatari side Al Sadd, officials in the Gulf claimed on Saturday.

Pictures posted on social media by Al Sadd first-team manager Abdullah Al-Berik said the 35-year-old 2010 World Cup winner had signed for one of Qatar's top sides.

"Al Sadd have just managed to sign Barcelona captain Xavi and this is a picture of him with sporting director Muhammed Ghoulam," Berik wrote on Instagram.

Xavi is therefore set to move to Qatar after the end of this season, despite having a contract with Barcelona until June 2016.

The transfer brings the curtain down on a 17-year first-team playing career with Barcelona, during which time Xavi has won seven La Liga championships, three Champions League titles and two Fifa Club World Cups.

He was also an integral part of Spain's World Cup-winning side in 2010 and their two European Championship triumphs in 2008 and 2012.

He has won more trophies — 25 — than any other Spanish footballer.

Xavi has spent his whole career at Barcelona, playing more than 700 games for the Catalan side since
his debut in 1998.

Beyond mere figures, he will also be remembered as being a central figure of Barcelona's revolutionary 'tiki-taka' style of football, which relies on possession and passing, and helped the Catalan side to become arguably the dominant team in Europe in the first decade of the century.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said that if the transfer is confirmed, the club will not stand in the way of what would be a surprise move for the iconic playmaker.

"I will say what I did last summer, Xavi has earned the right to decide his future and he has a contract until the end of next season," said Bartomeu.

"If he decides to leave then he will have the full support of the board and I would imagine the supporters. He has the two options and he has the right to decide."

Xavi's signing would also be one of the biggest coups for Qatari domestic football in a country set to host the 2022 World Cup.

Al Sadd are currently second in the league, seven points behind Lekhwiya, the side coached by former Barcelona player and Danish international Michael Laudrup.

They are the most successful side in Qatari football and competed in the Club World Cup in 2011, finishing third after being knocked out by Barcelona in the semifinals.

Xavi is thought to have signed a three-year contract with Al Sadd.

It is thought his role will combine coaching as well.

He follows in the footsteps of former Real Madrid star Raul Gonzalez, who played for Al Sadd in 39 games between 2012 and 2014.

Barcelona are currently four points clear at the top of La Liga and also in the running for more silverware in the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

© Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2015

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