Barcelona pay Qatari club Al Sadd’s release clause. The midfielder made 767 appearances for the Catalan club up to 2015.
Xavi Hernández has been confirmed as Barcelona’s new manager after an agreement was reached to terminate his contract with Al Sadd of Qatar. The 41-year-old, who made the last of his 767 Barcelona appearances in 2015, will take over from Ronald Koeman, who was dismissed as the team struggled to perform in La Liga.
Al Sadd said on Friday they had “agreed on Xavi’s move to Barcelona after the payment of the release clause stipulated in the contract”.
Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, started discussions several weeks ago with Xavi. The Spaniard made it clear he was ready to accept an offer to return to Camp Nou. However, negotiations with Al Sadd took longer than expected.
Xavi is a product of Barcelona’s academy and is one of the club’s most decorated and celebrated players. His career as a manager began at Al Sadd in May 2019, after he ended his playing days there. Last month he led the team to a triumph in Qatar’s Amir Cup final.
Barcelona are currently ninth in La Liga and they decided to sack Koeman after a loss at Rayo Vallecano. Sergi Barjuan has been in interim charge, overseeing a draw at home to Alavés and a win at Dynamo Kyiv that took the team up to second in their Champions League group. He is due to take charge at Celta Vigo on Saturday before handing over to Xavi.
Al Sadd’s CEO, Turki al-Ali, said: “Xavi informed us a few days ago of his desire to go to Barcelona at this particular time, because of the critical stage his hometown club is going through, and we understand this and decided not to stand in his way.”