Midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez has reportedly agreed a lucrative move to Qatar.
Barcelona were close to losing former Spain international Xavi Hernandez last summer, with the midfield star all set to call time on his illustrious career with the Catalan club. However, with offers on the table from clubs in Qatar and the USA, he was otherwise convinced there was still an important role to be played at the Camp Nou.
Since then, the speculation about where Xavi might end his playing days has remained. The option of joining former Spain and Barcelona team-mate David Villa at New York City FC in MLS seemed to be the favourite destination for the 35-year-old.
According to reports via AS and Mundo Deportivo, though, Xavi has now agreed a highly lucrative move to Al-Sadd in Qatar. Having considered, but dismissed, alternative options in North America, the midfielder has found a reported offer of €10 million per season, for the next three seasons, simply too good to refuse. He also has the option of a fourth season as part of the deal.
In addition to his playing role with Al-Sadd, there's also the opportunity for Xavi to work towards a coaching future, assessing the qualities of youngsters with the Aspire Academy, currently lead by fellow Spaniard Ivan Bravo, who is director general.
While the news will come as a disappointment to Barcelona fans around the world, who were hoping Xavi might see out the rest of his playing days with their club and perhaps move into coaching at their own renowned La Masia academy, nobody will begrudge him the opportunity of such an important last financial hurrah.
Having surpassed his 750th appearance for Barcelona recently, Xavi will leave behind many fond memories, along with a wealth of trophy victories, having formed a core part of the most successful blaugrana side in the club's history. He also has the chance to bow out in the most glorious way, as Barcelona battle to win a Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble before he bids farewell.