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Barcelona confirm return of club icon Xavi as coach

by centra
Legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez has returned to Barcelona as coach after six years with Al Sadd (AFP/Karim JAAFAR)

Barcelona confirmed the return of Xavi Hernandez as coach on Saturday, adding that the legendary midfielder was expected back in the city this weekend to take up his new role.

The Spaniard left Camp Nou to play for Al Sadd in 2015, after making 767 appearances for the Catalan club, which included winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

“It’s time to come home. Welcome, Xavi,” Barca tweeted. “It wasn’t goodbye, it was see you later,” it wrote, along with a video montage of the player’s departure in 2015.

Barcelona said in a statement it had reached an agreement with Xavi to become first team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons.

“It is expected that Xavi Hernandez will arrive in Barcelona this weekend and that on Monday 8 November his presentation as new FC Barcelona first team coach will take place in an event open to the public at Camp Nou,” it said.

Barcelona’s attempt to appoint Xavi as coach had been held up on Friday over his Al Sadd release clause, with Xavi and Barca considering splitting the payment to complete the deal.

Al Sadd said Barca had agreed to pay the clause in Xavi’s contract, which is reportedly set at around 5 million euros ($5.8 million), but Barcelona did not give any details of the deal in their statement. @AFP

Legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez
Barcelona’s midfielder Xavi Hernandez (C) celebrates with teammates after winning the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) final football match Athletic Bilbao vs FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on May 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDER GILLENEA

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