And here he being greeted at the door by Al Sadd board director Mohammed Ghanem al-Ali… “The decision is definitive yet hard”, he said at a press conference on Thursday.
“Between now and then we have elections; I’m not going to negotiate a renewal if I’m not re-elected”, he explained, adding that this season’s league triumph showed the club has “done things correctly”.
“We have an exciting project in Qatar”.
Then Luis Enrique came in and, despite drawing criticism in the early days of his tenure, led Barca back to the top of La Liga.
“My hope and aim is for one day to return to work for Barca”.
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.
“I did well to remain for another season even though I’ve had less playing time”, he said.
“I could not have had a better career”, he said.
He was close to leaving Barca after they ended last season without winning a major trophy and decided to retire from internationals following Spain’s flop at the 2014 World Cup.
Andres Iniesta, who first joined the squad in 2002, also paid tribute to Xavi on social media, posting a picture of him and Xavi together from last Sunday’s La Liga title clinching match.
Barcelona: FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has explained that he has yet to meet with the club’s technical committee to discuss his position for next season, pointing out that such plans can wait. He rose through Barcelona’s youth system and made his first-team debut in 1998. “I am very happy to have stayed”.
“History is proof of that”.
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.
Breaking with tradition and following a request from Barcelona, Xavi will lift the Primera Division trophy on Saturday.
It was a reminder that there is more to football than some overpaid league in England – how many Spanish clubs are in European cup finals this season? But my head and my body say that now is the time to leave, although not my heart.