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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Barcelona’s Xavi to join Qatar’s Al Sadd football team

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 Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona FC superstar Xavi Hernandez is expected to announce tomorrow that he will join Qatar’s Al Sadd football team at the end of this season, individuals close to the midfielder have said.

His agent, Ivan Corretja, told the BBC today that the athlete – known to his legions of fans as simply “Xavi” – would also serve as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup.

Al Sadd match
Al Sadd match

However, a spokesperson for Al Sadd refused to confirm or deny the development to Doha News, saying it would only be announced by the club “once the ink dries.”

Rumors that the 35-year-old midfielder was moving to Qatar have been swirling for months.

Xavi visited Doha with family in March and met with managers of Al Sadd, which announced on social media that he had signed with the club. However, the Qatar club later issued a statement saying the deal had not yet been finalized.

The statement added that Xavi was visiting the country with his family to get to know the club and the country more before he made his decision regarding the team, according to QNA.

This week, Xavi’s father, Joaquin Hernandez, confirmed that he would be joining the team. According to AFP, he also said the opportunity would allow his son to train as a future coach:

“He is lucky to have received a really impressive offer that allows him to continue playing football, train as a future coach and also rest a little.”

Xavi is expected to sign a three-year deal with Al Sadd. Though his contract with Barcelona is not supposed to end until next year, the club has already announced it won’t stand in his way.

“Xavi has earned the right to decide his future,” Barcelona FC President Josep Maria Bartomeu said in March.

Al Sadd is one of the top local football teams in Qatar. It won the Asian Champions League in 1989 and 2011, and finished third in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup after losing to Barcelona in the semi-finals.

Xavi chose Qatar’s club over an offer from New York City’s MLS, accoding to the Qatar Tribune.

International recruitment

Xavi is the latest football star who has been wooed to Qatar, which previously relied heavily on athletes from outside the country to bolster its ranks.

Others include Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez, who played for Al Sadd for two years before joining the US Cosmos in 2014. Another Real Madrid star, Fernando Herierra Hierro, joined Qatar’s Al Rayyan Club for a season in 2003.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola joined Al Ahli for two seasons starting in 2003, while Argentinian Gabriel Batistuta finished his career with Qatar’s Al Arab before retiring in 2005.

There are signs, however, that the country’s international recruitment efforts are tapering off.

Last year, the Qatar Football Association (QFA) announced that it would be reducing the number of foreign players in the coming seasons.

The organization said it wants to shift its focus to developing young local players, training more Qatari referees and coaches and reaching out to the community to bring in fans.

More recently, FIFA President Sepp Blatter blasted Qatar’s reliance on foreign handball players in this year’s world championships as an “absurdity.”

Blatter went on to warn the Gulf state that its athletic selection process would be closely watched ahead of the 2022 World Cup to ensure it complies with FIFA’s rules, which are stricter about nationalized athletes than the international handball league’s.

About Xavi

Qatar’s newest addition made his professional debut in August 1998 against RCD Mallorca. He has since played in more than 760 matches and scored 82 goals.

The Spanish player has also represented his country 133 times, a record for an outfield player.

The athlete has won over 25 trophies, more than any other Spanish football player in history.

He was also instrumental in Spain’s 2010 World Cup victory, as well as the country’s successes in the 2000 Olympics as well as the 2008 and 2012 Euro Cups.

Thoughts?

35 COMMENTS

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Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

Guess he is old enough now to come to Qatar.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Another expat who is past it, donning the locals out of a huge salary.

geist
geist
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Much better than you. Doesnt have a big mouth whining attitude and is an established player.

Ali Elali
Ali Elali
6 years ago
Reply to  geist

lol

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  geist

Players at their peak only come to Qatar for the money such as Asamoah Guyan or whatever his name is – the rest are just old and past their best.

Smile
Smile
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Asamoah Gyan play for Al Ain of the UAE. He never play in Qatar…Didier Drogba, 37 Frank Lampard 36 older than Xavi play in English PL his season. Xavi is 35 not too old. I watched Raul then at 35 play in AlSadd, believe me he play really wonderful football and still very energetic. Xavi is currently still by far better than many midfielders in Europe.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Smile

I stand corrected. But the principle of players past their peak coming to the Middle East for the cash still stands, and with great respect to the ME leagues the good players will stand out because the standard is nowhere near the European leagues.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Only football players ? What about the rest of us ……. !!!!

Smile
Smile
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

I agree but that doesn’t mean Xavi has completely past it. Yes not as good as when he was young but if he decide to stay in Europe, i am very sure many top teams will fight to sign him.

Smile
Smile
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Everyone in the UK 2 years ago said John Terry of chelseafc as past it. If he decided then to come to Qatar you and MIMH will say Qatar paid huge money for a retired leg. Jose Mourinho was brought back to Chelsea and the rest is history today. This season, John Terry is arguably the best central defender in the UK and definitely one of the best in Europe. He is 34

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Smile

Drogba was a great player but as you saw this year his past it, same can be said for Frank.
They will look good in this league because its rubbish and its a nice pay check at the end of their career. If he was still any good he would stay at Barca.

Smile
Smile
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yes, maybe no more good enough for Barca but still very good enough for many teams in Europe. Yes maybe he accepted the deal for money, i don’t know but certainly if he want to stay in Europe, many top teams will fight for his signature e.g Frank not good enough for ChelseaFC but good for ManCity for another season. He score many vital goals for them as well. Same goes for Drogba who score many vital goals for Chelsea this season. Remember Balloteli who is younger than this lads score i think only 3 EPL goals for Liverpool. Falcao also. History proof that experience of the old men in any team is very crucial to the success of any team. If lampard decide to stay in EPL today i am sure at least 10 teams in EPL will fight to sign him.
so i disagree with your comment of “Another expat who is past it”

I think AlSaddSC and Xavi need themselves. Experience services by a top professional who has won it all in football in exchange for money and another experience for him in the middle east…not bad idea for Xavi, AlSadd and Qatar.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  geist

The irony is lost in you…..

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  geist

Ha, you so missed the humour.

DarkQTR
DarkQTR
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Dude, do you even watch football? ;/

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  DarkQTR

Yes, much. I met Desaily when he played here. I asked him what attracted you to playing in Qatar and he said quite bluntly, 7 million dollars for one seasons work.

DarkQTR
DarkQTR
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yeah, that’s pretty normal in football worldwide. And I assume that you
know that. Sorry its just the way you “comment” is like an indirect
stereotype about something which might lead to bad issues related to
Qatar…. “I can feel it”.

Smile
Smile
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Xavi will surely improve Al Sadd football team. He is still by far better than most midfielders younger than him playing in Qatar. John Terry is currently one of the oldest central defender in England but by far better than almost all the defenders in the EPL this season. watch some football MIMH. Raul at 35 did well for Al Sadd. i watched him play for them.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago

Give him a Qatari passport so that he can play for the national team in 2022

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

He will probably be the team coach so no need for the passport 🙂

Madame Muppet
Madame Muppet
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

They wouldn’t be that silly would they? Surely they’d get an established coach?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Madame Muppet

They said the contract allows him to train as a future coach, which I guess means implicitly that he is welcome to coach in Qatar. Whether he would coach a league team or the national team is not clear for now. It is just my own conclusion and I might be wrong 🙂

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

really? ahahahah that’s hilarious

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

He chose Doha over NYC? Obviously one last financial hoorah! Sad that he hasn’t stayed in Europe

Yup
Yup
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

It’s sad that you didn’t.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Yup

Deleting for personal attack.

Pello
Pello
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

It’s sad the you didn’t.

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

I hope he gets a multi-exit permit 😛

dencio padilla
dencio padilla
6 years ago

It’s Fernando Hierro not Herierra.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  dencio padilla

Thanks for pointing this out – fixed it.

Mitchos
Mitchos
6 years ago

The image used to describe the Al Sadd match is incorrect. I suggest you visit the QSL flickr to get an accurate image of the side.

Lelouch D' Merci
Lelouch D' Merci
6 years ago

its a good thing that the CEO of “Madrid Obsession Company” left Spain..

Bloodymer Zkizzoid
Bloodymer Zkizzoid
6 years ago

Get Iniesta as well.

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

Money-grubbing little turd. Like he doesn’t have enough already. Could have retired gracefully. It’s all about the Qatari clubs basking in the reflected glory of just having these names here. They don’t really care how he performs, even whether people come to the games in any numbers…….just as long as they think they look good by having people like Xavi here. Vanity of the worst kind.

EuropaPointFC
5 years ago

#ASteppingStoneClub for #YoungReleasedPlayers needs backing

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