FC Barcelona legend and midfielder Xavi Hernandez to hang up his boots at end of season

FC Barcelona legend and former midfielder Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement at the end of the season and has confirmed his desire to move into coaching.

Xavi has announced that the 2018/19 season will be his final one as a professional footballer. The Terrassa native, who currently plays for Al-Sadd in Qatar, holds the all-time appearances record at FC Barcelona with 767, and scored 85 goals from 1998 to 2015.

“It has been a privilege to play until the age of 39. This 2018-19 season will be my last as a player, but I hope the future offers the chance to be a coach.”

Xavi confirmed his intention to follow in the footsteps of Dutch footballer and coach Johan Cruyff.

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“I like to see teams take the initiative on the field. To play attacking football, and to demonstrate the essence of what we all have loved since our infancy: possession-based football.”

He arrived at the Club in the 1991/92 season to play for Under-12 team, and La Masia became the place where he learned the fundamentals of the midfield from the man who would become his friend and mentor, Pep Guardiola, who Xavi would later succeed as the backbone of the Barça midfield for almost two decades.

Xavi debuted with the Barça first team under Louis Van Gaal, and was part of the team’s glory years from 1998 to 2015. He made his biggest leap under Frank Rijkaard and became a superstar under Guardiola. Xavi was the first captain of the team for his final season, following the retirement of Carles Puyol.

Xavi went on to win 25 titles, including the treble seasons of 2008-09 and 2014-15. In total he holds eight La Liga, three Copa del Rey, four UEFA Champions League, two FIFA Club World Cup, six Spanish Super Cup, and two UEFA Super Cup. Xavi is a six-time Copa Catalunya and one-time Catalunya Super Cup winner.

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