Xavi Hernandez, arguably one of the best midfielders of all time, has announced he will end his professional career at the end of this season.
In a letter published in The Peninsula Qatari newspaper, the 39-year-old said that he now wants to try his hand at coaching. Xavi, who has been playing in Qatar since 2015, said that his coaching philosophy will be based on the style of play that was developed through the influence of Johan Cruyff, Barcelona and its academy, La Masia.
"I love to see teams taking the initiative on the pitch, playing attacking football and going back to the essence of what we all love about this game since our childhood days; having possession of the football," he wrote.
Xavi Hernandez spent 14 years in Barcelona, where he won a whopping 35 trophies, including eight La Liga and four Champions League titles, before moving to Qatari club Al-Sadd. Along with fellow La Masia graduates Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, he is widely considered to have been one of the most crucial players to Spain's success in the 2008 and 2012 Euros and the 2010 World Cup.
Apart from the numerous titles with Barcelona and the national team, Xavi was named among Europe's 11 best players for five straight years between 2008 and 2012, while also making it to the world's top 11 for six years in a row from 2008-2013. He was also third in the voting for the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2009, 2010 and 2011.