Barcelona midfielder Xavi has penned a three-year contract with Qatari club Al Sadd, according to reports in Spain.
AS revealed the Spanish playmaker will join Al Sadd at the end of the season and replace former Real Madrid star Raul in the side. Xavi, 35, is expected to receive a salary of €10 million and will study for his coaching licences during his time in Qatar at the Aspire Academy.
Xavi emerged from Barca's famous academy at La Masia, making his breakthrough into the senior side in 1998.
Football's most prolific passer has been central to Barcelona's success in becoming European football's most revered club, winning seven Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and three Champions Leagues during his time at Camp Nou.
Xavi earned 133 international caps and was an integral part of the Spain squad that clinched consecutive titles at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. He assisted Carles Puyol's goal in the World Cup semi-final in South Africa as they beat Germany 1-0, before playing all 120 minutes as Vicente del Bosque's side edged Netherlands to clinch the trophy.
Would anyone turn down €10m-a-season to wind down their career? Because the end is surely here for the iconic midfielder.
At 35, Xavi is slowly being phased out at Barcelona, invariably spending most of the season either being subbed off early or brought on from the bench.
Rather than fall further down the pecking order, it seems sensible to move to another club and take the monster pay packet while it is still available.
He has won enough major honours at club and international level, so it is hardly a terrible move to drop into an unknown league rather than join an established force.
He can now study for his coaching qualifications away from the bustle of European football and return, refreshed, to coach or manage in a few years' time.
Additional info from Reuters
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