Barcelona and Spain legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez decided to retire from soccer after 21 years as a pro. Xavi, who spent the last four year playing in Qatar for Al Sadd, announced his decision on Thursday via an open letter.
In the letter, Xavi confirmed he will finish the current season with Al Sadd, and then pursue a career as a manager.
“It has been a privilege to play football up to age 39 and I would like to finish out the season on the top by winning the Amir Cup and reaching the next stage of the Asian Champions League.” – Xavi wrote. “This is my last season as a player, but I really want to see what the future holds for me as a manager.”
“I love to see teams that take the lead on the pitch, that attacking football and that return to the essence that we all know from the days of our youth, possession of the ball,” – he added. “It has been a privilege to accomplish what I have done over the past two decades. And that is why I feel that it is my duty to begin an initiative on the field and give back to football as long as I am able.”
After the news broke, FC Barcelona, where Xavi started his career, decided to remind everyone on his role in the club’s decorated history.
Xavi Hernandez made his professional debut with Barcelona in 1998 and ended up playing 17 years with La Liga giant. During that time he won an astonishing number of 25 trophies which included four UEFA Champions League trophies alongside eight national titles. He was equally successful on the international level, winning FIFA World Cup in 2010 and UEFA European Championship trophies in 2008 and 2012 with Spain.