Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez to retire at end of season

By Charles Odero | Friday, May 3rd 2019 at 11:25
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Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez has announced that he will end his 21-year career at the end of this season.

The 39-year-old, who currently plays for Al-Sadd in Qatar, holds the all-time appearances record at FC Barcelona with 767, and scored 85 goals from 1998 to 2015.

The central midfielder won eight La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies while at Barcelona.

(Courtesy Getty images)

"This is my last season as a player, but I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me as a coach," Xavi said.

"My philosophy as a coach reflects the style we developed for many years under the influence of Johan Cruyff and La Masia, and that has its greatest exponent in the way of playing football in Barcelona.

"I love seeing the teams take the initiative on the field, play attacking football and return to the essence of what we all loved since our childhood days: football possession."

Xavi made his debut for Barca in 1998 after coming through the club's famed La Masia academy and soon became the heartbeat of the team's midfield, winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns before joining Al Sadd.

He was one of the key players when Spain won their first and only World Cup in 2010 as well as their European Championship triumphs in 2008 and 2012, eventually retiring from the national team after a disappointing 2014 World Cup.

Last month he helped Al Sadd win the Qatar Stars League, the country's top flight division, and has reached the quarter-finals of the Emir Cup with the team.

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