Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has confirmed his departure from the Catalan club and will join the Qatari side Al-Sadd this summer.
While in Qatar, the former Spain international will study for his coaching badges at the Aspire Academy.
Speaking at his press conference today, Xavi expressed that now was the perfect time to leave the club which he has spent the entirety of his career.
“I’d like to announce that I’m leaving Barcelona after this season,” the club legend said. “The decision is definitive yet difficult.
“Now is the right time to go, I’m playing less minutes these days. I’m happy to have stayed at Barcelona this year. This decision has been a tough one, but it’s the right one.”
Xavi went on to confirm that he will be joining the Qatari side Al-Sadd and his family will be joining him in the country. The Barcelona legend said his ultimate goal is to return to the Catalan club in some capacity.
“I think the Qatar project is nice, and it’s ideal for me,” Xavi added. “In the future I’d like to come back to Barca.
“I want to keep playing. I know I can still perform, although it will be in a lower level league.”
Xavi emerged from Barcelona’s famed youth academy, La Masia, and has made over 700 appearances for La Blaugrana in seventeen seasons.
He is widely considered one of the most prolific passers in football and has played a key role in Barcelona’s domestic and European conquests. During his time at the club, he has won seven La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and three Champions League titles.
The 35-year-old has earned 133 international caps with Spain and was an integral part of the national side which won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.