FC Barcelona has the man they were after. Xavi agreed on contract terms until 2024 after the Catalonian giants paid his $6 million release clause at Al Sadd in Qatar.

Xavi spent two-and-a-half years on Al Sadd’s bench before leaving for FC Barcelona. (Image: Twitter/fabrizioromano)

Xavi won seven trophies in his two-and-a-half years in charge of the Qatari club and impressed both fans and colleagues with his style of football. A Barcelona legend since his playing days, the former midfielder is expected to be officially introduced to the media on Monday at Camp Nou.

Xavi will travel to Barcelona over the weekend so he will have no involvement in preparing for the La Liga game against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

“Al Sadd’s administration reached a deal with FC Barcelona for the payment of the release clause stipulated in Xavi’s contract. We have agreed to cooperate with Barcelona in the future,” Al Sadd said through a statement.

“Xavi is an important part of Al Sadd’s history and we wish him success. He informed us he wants to go to Barcelona due to the critical situation his hometown club is going through,” the release added. “We understood him and decided not to get in his way. Xavi and his family will continue to be welcome in Doha and our relationship will continue.”

Xavi, a true Barcelona hero

Barcelona sacked Ronald Koeman last week after the club’s loss to newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano in Madrid. Laporta appointed B team coach Sergi Barjuan as interim boss, with Xavi the president’s desired appointment for the permanent role.

A product of the great La Masia academy, Xavi made his debut for Barcelona in 1998. At the senior level, he played no fewer than 767 games in the FC Barcelona shirt, winning La Liga eight times and the Champions League on four occasions. Xavi is a World Cup and Euro winner with the Spanish national team.

The former midfielder joined al Sadd in 2015, playing for the Qatari club until his retirement. He then took over as manager in 2019. It’s not the first time Xavi has been linked with the Barca seat, as he was targeted on at least two more occasions. In May, he signed a contract extension to remain in Doha until 2023.

The 41-year-old Xavi will find a different reality at Camp Nou than the one he is used to. Barcelona sits ninth in La Liga after 11 games, nine points behind league leaders Real Sociedad. The Catalonians also lost 3-0 to both Bayern and Benfica in the Champions League, and fear they might miss out on the Champions League Sweet 16 phase.

With Sergi Barjuan at the helm, Barcelona drew at home to Alaves in La Liga, 1-1, and won in Kyiv against Dynamo in the Champions League, 1-0. The match against Celta Vigo will be Sergi’s final one as Barca’s boss.