Xavi in Qatar

Xavi in Qatar

Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez was officially unveiled by Al Sadd on Thursday and said he was “proud” to now be playing for the Qatari side. The midfielder has signed a two-year contract, which could be extended to three years, and will play and coach as well as be an ambassador for 2022 Qatar World Cup.

“I am very, very proud to be part and parcel of Al Sadd Football Club,” said the 35-year-old. “I hope I will be able to lift all titles with this very important club and continue with my achievements,” he said. “I would like to thank Al Sadd Sports Club and all the Qatari people.”

Xavi, Barcelona’s most decorated player of all time, was also one of the heroes of Spain’s Euro and World Cup-winning squads in 2010.

He follows in the footsteps of other Spanish stars who have played in Qatar including Real Madrid forward Raul who played 39 games for Al Sadd.

Xavi said he would like to end his career in Qatar and then go on to coach. He did not rule out returning to Spain as a coach. “I would like to continue as a coach, after that I will see what happens.”

He also defended his role as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup after the bidding process became engulfed by the ongoing FIFA corruption scandal.

“There’s no doubt it’s an amazing project and all the Qatari people are working to achieve great results,” he said. “I would also like to learn a new culture of football and I hope that I will be able to learn so many things not only football but also about Arab culture.”

Xavi had touched down in Qatar on Tuesday and was greeted by a number of fans at the airport.  Al Sadd  finished second in the recently Qatar Stars League season, behind champions Lekhwiya, managed by Michael Laudrup.

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Patrícia Lopes

Patricia Lopes is a sports journalist, currently working as the BeIN Sports channel correspondent in Brazil. She took part in several international coverages and two world cups. The first in 2010 in South Africa, and the second in 2014, in Brazil. Patricia has previously worked for the following channels: Rede Brasil-TVE (Brazilian public TV) where she worked for nine years as a reporter, presenter and sports commentator. After that she spent 7 years at ESPN. She has also worked freelance for other famous news channels in the world: Al Jazeera, CNN EN Español and NBC Telemundo