After hanging up his boots with Al Saad earlier this month, ex-Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez has been confirmed as the Qatari club's new manager.
Former Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has been officially named the new manager of Al Saad SC, the Qatari club confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.
The Spanish midfielder, who joined Al Saad from Barcelona in 2015, hung up his boots after an illustrious playing career on 20 May, following his side's defeat to Iranian side Persépolis (2-0) in the final game of Asian Champions League (ACL) Group D, and will now take the step into coaching.
Having captained his side as a player through the ACL group stage, Xavi will now oversee the rest of the competition from the bench, with his debut game in charge expected to be against Al Duhail in the first leg of the quarter final on 6 August.
“Xavi Hernandez will take over as the head coach of Al Sadd from the beginning of the next season!” the club announced on Twitter.
“Our captain Xavi has extended his contract with Al Sadd and will remain with the club for another two years.”
Xavi's ultimate goal: coaching Barcelona
Xavi has been hotly tipped to become a future manager at Barcelona, where he stilll holds the record for the player with the most appearences with 769. But the 39-year-old plans to earn his stripes before taking the step into one of the biggest coaching jobs in world football.
“It’s not a case of raising my hand and going back to Barcelona. Barça is a really big deal. I’ll have to take it step by step. Obviously it’s an objective of mine to enjoy a return to Can Barça, but I need to make sure I’m ready for it. Now is not the time,” Xavi said a few weeks ago in an interview with TV3.
Xavi's coaching philosophy
Xavi has previously said he plans to carry the football philosophy he learned at Barcelona, where he began as a youth player in the mid-90s, into his managerial career, much like his former Barça team mate and coach, Pep Guardiola.
"My philosophy as a manager reflects the style that we developed for many years under the influence of Johan Cruyff and from La Masia (Barcelona academy) and its main exponent is in the way Barcelona play,” said Xavi in an article sent from Doha to the press earlier this month.
“I love to see the teams that take the initiative on the field, attacking football and go back to that place we all loved since the days of our youth: possession football."