squad | 2015-05-21
The farewell of a legend
Xavi confirms he's leaving FC Barcelona
Xavier Hernández Creus arrived at Can Barça when he was just 11 years old, and today, 24 years later, he announced he’s leaving Barcelona. “I’d like to confirm I’m leaving the club after this season is over. It’s my final decision; it hasn’t been simple or easy. I have talked this through with my wife, my family, my people and I believe it’s time for me to go. That’s how I feel.”
“I have done well by staying this season, especially after all the success we are achieving but it’s time for me to leave Barça. I feel useful and important but it’s the moment for a change of pace,” explained Xavi, in the crowded press conference room at the Ciutat Esportiva Sant Joan Despí. He added, “When I have taken part of the matches I have felt useful. When you talk about the starting team, you don’t see my name anymore and that’s a handicap for me. I have tried to be above myself and help the team. And the final script is spectacular, unsurpassable. We have already won the league and have two finals left. It all seems perfect for me as a farewell.”
The Catalan legend said his new destination will be the Al-Sadd club in Qatar: “It was very hard to make this decision. I have a promising project with Al-Sadd in Qatar, tailor-made for me. I will play in Al-Sadd for the next two seasons, plus one optional season. Moreover, I will work with my brothers Alex and Oscar in the Aspire project, alongside with my sister. Also, I’m going to be part of a project which is beyond playing football, whether as a head coach or general manager and I’ll be bound to the country until the 2022 World Cup. It’s an exciting project for me and my family.”
The Blaugrana captain also spoke about the contract renovation offer he received from Barcelona in the last few days: “I have to thank the club for placing their trust in me. They offered to renovate my contract until 2018 but the decision had already been made. I want to thank the fans who have chanted my name in the last matches and I hope I’m not disappointing anyone with this decision. It’s time to end this cycle, to leave and form my future.”
Xavi also confirmed his desire to return to Barcelona someday. “I have always said my purpose is to return to this home, whether as a coach or general manager. Barça is my life. I’d like to be remembered as a passionate man of this game and a footballer to the bone. I have an absolute happiness and I just want to win these two finals left.”
Guardiola, Raúl and Hierro are some of the players who have undertaken the Qatari adventure, and Xavi had this to say with regards to his move to Qatar, “I have a conversation pending with Guardiola about Qatar. I have spoken to Raúl about it and I’m very excited with the project. The Aspire facilities are outstanding and my whole family is very thrilled.”
When asked if Barcelona will miss his football, Xavi was emphatic. “Barça will keep winning and competing well. History has proven that many have left and Barcelona has continued winning. I don’t want to appoint my heir. It was a triple effort for me to be Guardiola’s successor. When I’m not playing, the team plays really well and competes. The club is above any individuality.”
Xavi also talked about the upcoming finals, “People say we are the favorites in both matches but it will not be easy. They will be tough opponents, Athletic has gone from less to more and Juventus already has the domestic double. After Saturday’s match we are going to focus in these two matches and what I desire the most is to win both titles. It would be unrepeatable to leave the club with a treble”.
Barcelona’s socis will say goodbye to Xavi on Saturday after the match against Deportivo La Coruña, a day dedicated to honor him. Even the Spanish Federation wants to participate; Ángel María Villar, federation president, will hand over the league trophy to Barcelona on that day to celebrate becoming league champions this season.
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