Xavi close to hanging up boots. Wants to manage Barcelona

Pirlo and Xavi Italy Spain

World Cup-winning midfielder Xavi admits his playing days are numbered, but is already setting his sights on managing Barcelona.

Xavi has won just about everything it is possible to win as a professional footballer.

One of the most decorated midfielders of his generation, he has enjoyed 16 trophy-laden years at Barcelona.

A product of the Camp Nou’s famed academy system, Xavi has collected seven La Liga titles, three Champions League crowns, two Copa del Reys and enjoyed two Club World Cup triumphs.

He has also lifted the World Cup and European Championship with Spain, making 133 appearances for his country.

Xavi acknowledges that he is approaching the end, though, with his 35th birthday set to be celebrated in January.

The day will shortly come for him to hang up his boots, but he has already given consideration to what he would like to do next and is setting his sights on following the lead of former teammate Pep Guardiola and inheriting the managerial reins at one of world football’s most prestigious clubs.

He told El Pais: “Hopefully I can [follow Guardiola] and even more so in my home here.

“My playing days are numbered, that is clear. I can feel it in my body as it is difficult for me to recover and I need to measure how much effort I am putting in.

“I don’t have the same sharpness to play every three days anymore.”

Xavi will go down in history as one of the finest players to have ever played the game.

He may not have always received the recognition he deserves, but that comes from turning out alongside superstars for club and country.

It is clear, though, that the likes of Lionel Messi will be forever grateful for what he brings to the table, with Xavi’s remarkable ability to retain possession and pick a pass allowing those around him to flourish.

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