Barcelona Legend Xavi Announces His Retirement At The End Of The Season
Barcelona legend Xavi has announced that he will be hanging up his football boots at the end of the season.
The 39-year-old midfielder currently plays for Al Sadd in Qatar, but Mundo Deportivo reports that he released an article to Doha about his intention of focusing on a career in coaching.
"This is my last season as a player, but I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me as a coach," he said.
The former Barça maestro has offered an early insight into his coaching style, which will channel the teachings from the Spanish club's famed La Masia youth academy and the influence of footballing icon Johan Cruyff.
"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," he explained.
"I love seeing the teams take the initiative in the field, attack football and return to the essence of what we all love from our childhood days: possession football.
"What I have achieved in the last two decades has been a privilege and, therefore, I believe it is my duty to take the initiative of the field and return through football whenever possible."
The former Spain international has previously been tipped to follow in the same footsteps of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and become Barcelona manager.
Last year, however, Xavi dismissed the comparisons with the former Barça head coach and said that he can't picture the idea of it yet.
"I have a part [of the coaching licenses to be a manager]," he told TV3. "I still have one more year left to get the UEFA pro licence to be able to coach the big clubs in Europe.
"Now, for example, I can train Qatar and in small countries, football-wise. At Barça, I could train the youth team. Next year in May I hope to get the UEFA pro licence.
"People go faster than what I think. It has always happened to me. When I was a player they talked about the new Guardiola, and I did not see that myself. I needed two [to] three years to see [myself playing in that role].
"Now it's the same as a manager. I still don't see myself as ready and prepared to do it. They say Xavi will be the future Barcelona manager, but we must be patient because I still don't see it."
Xavi came through Barcelona's youth academy and made over 500 appearances during his time at the Camp Nou.
The Al Sadd star won multiple honours during his time in Spain, including eight La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys, six Supercopa de Españas and four Champions Leagues.
Outside of club competitions, Xavi lifted one World Cup and two European Championships during his time on international duty with Spain.
Happy retirement, #Xavi! :pray:- Johan Cruyff (@JohanCruyff) 2 May 2019
"@JohanCruyff is the most important person in the history of the Spanish national team," #Xavi stated in 2017. "If you look back, it's all thanks to Cruyff's philosophy."
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Featured Image Credit: PA