Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez was in tears at a press conference on Thursday, as the Camp Nou legend confirmed that he would be leaving the club after 17 illustrious years of service.
“I’d like to announce that I’m leaving Barça after this season. The decision is definitive yet difficult,” assures Xavi #FCBlive
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 21, 2015
There had been speculation that the 35-year-old would be ending his stunning career with Barcelona in the summer, and he has announced that he has made the ‘definitive’ but ‘difficult’ decision that he will be joining Qatari side Al Sadd at the end of the season.
The Spaniard revealed that the La Liga champions had offered him a new contract, but the time felt right for him to move on from his boyhood club.
Xavi has been described as the ‘architect‘ and the ‘director of the orchestra’, as he has been at the heart of the most successful team in the club’s history since making his professional debut aged just 18.
He is Barca’s all time appearance holder – having made a staggering 764 – with 504 of those coming in La Liga.
There is no other player in the history of the Spanish giants that has claimed as many titles – 23 – as the Camp Nou hero. He has won an astonishing eight La Liga titles, six Spanish Super Cups, three Champions League trophies, two Spanish Cups, two European Super Cups and two Club World Cups.
The midfielder could yet add to his trophy cabinet in Barca’s three remaining fixtures – with a Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao and a Champions League final versus Juventus still to be played.