You could be forgiven if you weren’t aware Xavi is still playing professional football after leaving Barcelona nearly three seasons ago.
The former Spain international left the Nou Camp to see out the remainder of his playing days with Al Sadd – an undisputed powerhouse of the Qatar Stars League.
However, with eight La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns and World Cup medal to his name, Xavi has well and truly left the most prestigious years of his career behind.
He has been wearing the ironically all-white kit of Al Sadd since 2015, yet made to wait until this year to clinch a maiden first trophy with his new club.
Despite his revered standing in the game, Xavi has been widely criticised for choosing to fade into the relative obscurity of the Middle East rather than staying in his homeland.
But the Spaniard – whose contract with Al Sadd expires next summer – appears to have big plans for when he hangs up his boots.
Xavi has long predicted he would take up coaching soon after his playing career is over, though his sights are set on a rather ambitious first job.
The 37-year-old has been working as assistant coach of the Qatar national team since Felix Sanchez got the job on an interim basis in July.
Asked if he wants to eventually take over from his compatriot, Xavi said, per the AFP: "Why not? I think it would be nice to be a coach here for the national team.
"We will see. I need experience, I need staff, I need everything but at least I know the Qatari players, I know the environment here. I am here to help them to be better, to compete well at this World Cup. I think my aim is to be the head coach.”
XAVI'S MANAGERIAL PHILOSOPHY
And should such an achievement come to pass, Xavi intends to maintain his roots in the dugout.
"I think that we must follow this legacy of Johann Cruyff, of Frank Rijkaard, [Louis] van Gaal, Pep Guardiola, not only in Barcelona but also in the world of football," he said.
"Everybody enjoyed our style, in Barcelona and the national team. I think we have to follow this way.”
It would be incredible to see Xavi – who’s yet to acquire his coaching badges – managing on the international stage only six years after representing La Roja at the 2014 World Cup.
Stranger things have happened.
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