‘Irreplaceable’ Xavi calls time on Barcelona career

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 01:40 GMT, May 22, 2015 |

Barcelona midfielder and captain Xavi confirmed yesterday (Thursday) he will leave his boyhood club at the end of the season and has agreed to join Qatari side Al Sadd after a glittering career stretching over 17 seasons. The 35-year-old former Spain international, who signed up with Barca’s academy in 1991 aged 11 and has won 23 trophies with the first team, formally announced his departure at a press conference after the news had leaked out earlier this week.

Al Sadd simultaneously confirmed on their Twitter feed that an agreement had been sealed on a two-year contract with an option for a further year. Xavi came to define Barca’s possession-based playing style and has had a crucial role in the success of the Catalan club and the Spain national team over the past decade.

The 35 year old player almost left at the end of last season after Barcelona failed to win a major trophy for the first time in six years but new coach Luis Enrique, a former team mate, persuaded him to stay. He is set to receive an emotional send-off in Barcelona’s final La Liga game of the campaign at home to Deportivo La Coruna tomorrow (Saturday), when he will hoist aloft the La Liga trophy after the match.

Last weekend Barca wrapped up the title, Xavi’s eighth, and he can win two more trophies in the King’s Cup final against Athletic Bilbao on May 30 and the Champions League showpiece versus Juventus a week later.