Qatari club agrees to let Xavi become Barcelona coach




In this file photo dated Monday, May 20, 2019, Qatar's Al-Sadd player Xavi Hernandez, former Barcelona and Spain midfielder, during an AFC Champions League match at the Azadi stadium in Tehran, Iran. 40-year old Xavi Hernandez has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to an announcement Saturday July 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, FILE)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Xavi Hernández will be allowed to become Barcelona’s next coach upon the payment of his release clause from Al-Sadd, the Qatari club said Friday.

“Xavi is an important part of Al-Sadd’s history and we wish him success,” Al-Sadd said in a message on social media.

The former Spain midfielder is set to replace Ronald Koeman, who was fired last week. Sergi Barjuan has led Barcelona since then. He will return to coaching the reserve team.

The 41-year-old Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 after helping the club win 25 titles, including four Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues in 17 seasons. He was also key to Spain’s streak of titles when it won the 2010 World Cup and European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

He has been at Al-Sadd since then, first as a player and then as coach.

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