Xavi has ended speculation that he could take over as Barcelona head coach by signing a two-year contract extension at Al-Sadd.
The 41-year-old had been strongly tipped to take over at Camp Nou after becoming a club legend through 17 years with the Barca first team.
But Xavi is now set to stay on at the Qatari club through to 2023.
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What was said?
“We achieved a lot together, scored goals, won matches and titles, and we are all very proud of this success. Getting this kind of support is the best thing any coach can get,” Xavi told Al-Sadd’s official website.
“I have everything I could want to do well, and I feel proud to continue with Al-Sadd for an additional two seasons.”
Xavi also denied reports that he has a clause in his new contract that allows him to leave at any time.
“This is incorrect,” he said. “I have a two-season contract with Al-Sadd, and I respect this contract – and I also respect the official negotiation methods between all parties.”
The bigger picture
Since taking over as Al-Sadd manager in 2019 Xavi has led the club to six trophies, demonstrating his potential as a manager.
That potential, combined with his legendary playing career at Camp Nou, has made Xavi one of the first names mentioned as a future Barcelona manager over the past year.
Xavi himself acknowledged earlier this year that he hopes to manage his former club one day, saying: “Of course I would like to be Barcelona’s head coach. I’ve said it many times.”
But it appears that Xavi’s time will have to come in the future, despite the pressure mounting on Ronald Koeman as he nears the end of his first season in charge.
Barcelona won the Copa del Rey this season but were bounced from the Champions League at the last-16 stage and their La Liga title pursuit appears likely to fall just short.