Xavi hungry for elusive first Qatar trophy

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
DOHA
Published 28.04.2017 22:50
Updated 28.04.2017 22:53
Qatari  Al-Sadd club player Xavi Hernandez (L) fights for the ball agianst Lekhwiya’s Ismail Mohammed during their Sheikh Jassim Cup final football match.
Qatari Al-Sadd club player Xavi Hernandez (L) fights for the ball agianst Lekhwiya’s Ismail Mohammed during their Sheikh Jassim Cup final football match.

In 17 golden years at Barcelona, Xavi Hernandez won some 25 trophies playing for the Catalan giants, including eight La Liga and four Champions League titles. But as the midfielder approaches the end of his second season with Al Sadd he has yet to win a single trophy in Qatar. That however could all change on Saturday when Al Sadd take on El Jaish in the Qatar Cup, the first domestic final of the season. And adding to his trophy haul is long overdue, Xavi said. "I am really angry about that," he told the AFP. "Because in Barcelona, not every year, but almost every year, we won something."

"And here, in my first season we didn't take any trophy and now we have a good possibility Saturday to clinch my first trophy here," said the midfielder.

And despite winning a World Cup, Xavi admitted he would be nervous before Saturday's final. While the biggest draw in the Qatar Stars League and playing for one of the most high-profile teams in the country, Xavi has endured some frustration in the Gulf. The midfielder signed for Al Sadd in 2015 on a two-year contract.

In his first season the club finished in a disappointing third place, 15 points behind runaway winners Al Rayyan. In the second season, which has just finished, Al Sadd finished runners-up to Lekhwiya, missing out on the championship by just two points. El Jaish, managed by former French international Sabri Lamouchi, finished fourth. Saturday's final will bring Xavi in direct competition with Seydou Keita, who spent four seasons at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, but came to Qatar last year.

Next season will almost certainly be Xavi's last chance of winning a league title in Qatar.

He has signed an extension to his contract, but is set to retire at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, when he will be 38, to concentrate on coaching and bring the curtain down on of the greatest careers in modern football. Xavi has already expressed his desire to coach Barcelona in the future, "It's my life, it's my home," he says, but has not ruled out the possibility of being Qatar's coach when the Middle East country hosts the 2022 World Cup.

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