Barcelona legend Xavi appointed manager of Qatar-based Al Sadd

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The World Cup winner has made 86 appearances for the side as a player, but announced his retirement earlier this month

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has been appointed manager of Qatar Stars League club Al Sadd.

The 39-year-old has been a player for Al Sadd since 2015, having made 86 appearances for them, after leaving Camp Nou, but announced his retirement earlier this month.

Xavi penned a two-year deal and will become the boss of his former La Liga rival, Gabi, who left Atletico Madrid last year.

Former playmaker Xavi had revealed shortly before his last game as a player that he expected to start his managerial career in Qatar.

"The idea is to start as a coach in Qatar, that there is not so much pressure, to prove myself and to gain experience, and the goal is to return to Europe and mainly to Barca," he told Marca.

Xavi made his debut for Barcelona in 1998 and enjoyed a prolific 17 years in Catalonia before moving to Qatar.

"I've had very long career," he added. "I am calm and I have the goal of being a coach. I imagine that having a goal when you finish such a wonderful stage also makes everything seem easier.

"I see it [my retirement from playing] as my farewell to football, but I've done it all, I have the feeling that football has given me everything and I'm thankful.

Xavi Barcelona

"My dream is to be a coach, transmit my experiences a bit. I have many concepts of football in my head and I would like to transmit them."

The midfielder has played under a number of highly-rated coaches in his long career, but singled out two as the best of the bunch. 

"The two that have marked me the most have been Luis Aragones in the national team and [Pep] Guardiola, in Barca," he continued.

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The Catalans played a revolutionary possession-based game under Guardiola – who has gone on to successfully implement his style at Bayern Munich and Manchester City – and Xavi acknowledged he wants to use that approach in his own coaching career.

"It's what I want to convey, I've grown up like that, I've really enjoyed this style, we've won with this style, Barca and the national team and, therefore, I think it's the best style to play football,"

Asked about speculation linking him as a replacement for Ernesto Valverde this summer, Xavi added: "I now start a race from scratch. I cannot take a Ferrari or a transatlantic, I have to start with a small boat, with a small car, go try, get experience and yes, it is true that the goal is to return to Barcelona."

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