Barcelona appoint club legend Xavi as new coach

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Barcelona have named former midfield legend Xavi as their new head coach after securing his release from Qatari team Al Sadd, the Spanish giants have said.

The 41-year-old Xavi made 767 appearances for Barca as a player having come through the club’s youth system and won 25 trophies, including four Champions Leagues, has replaced Dutch coach Ronald Koeman who was dismissed last week.

The club said in a statement early Saturday that Xavi would be coach for the remainder of the current season and the next two.

Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 to conclude his playing career with Al Sadd and has coached the team since 2019. He won the Qatari league last season and has also claimed various cup competitions.

Al Sadd chief executive officer Turki Al-Ali said the move to Barcelona was agree “after the payment of the release clause stipulated in the contract,” which ran to 2023, and “we’ve agreed on cooperation with Barcelona in the future.”

Reports in Spain question the details of the payment, however, but it is clear some kind of deal has been reached. Retaining the coach against his will would have been difficult for Al Sadd given his immense association with Barcelona.

“Xavi informed us a few days ago of his desire to go to Barcelona at this particular time, because of the critical stage his hometown club is going through, and we understand this and decided not to stand in his way,” Al-Ali said.

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