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Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi has announced he will retire from playing at the end of the 2017-18 season and plans to move into coaching next year.
The 37-year-old’s contract with Al-Sadd in the Qatar Stars League expires next summer.
He told Mundo Leo (via Marca) that the current campaign will be his last as a player as he no longer recovers the way he used to: “I have had the luck of not having injuries, and I think my career has gone down progressively. I also see that I am getting more tired and that it is harder for me to recover, and I am sure that it is my last year as a football player. I have the idea of issuing a licence and becoming a coach next year.”
Xavi joined Al-Sadd in 2015 after spending 24 years at Barcelona as a youth player before becoming one of the most successful stars the club has ever had.
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He won eight La Liga titles with the Blaugrana, four UEFA Champions Leagues and numerous other trophies.
The midfielder also enjoyed immense success with the Spanish national team, winning two UEFA European Championships and the 2010 FIFA World Cup before retiring in 2014.
His senior career has spanned three decades. He made his first-team debut for Barcelona in 1998 before going on to amass 767 appearances, a record for the Catalan club.
Xavi has been somewhat out of the limelight since departing the Camp Nou, but it is likely he will return to the European fold when he goes into coaching.
Given his longstanding connection with Barcelona it would be no surprise were he to eventually take up the manager’s role at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona have a longstanding tradition of employing former players in the top job. Current manager Ernesto Valverde played for the Blaugrana between 1988 and 1990, while recent predecessors Luis Enrique and Pep Guardiola both played with Xavi during their playing days.