Since joining Al-Sadd SC, Xavi has combined playing duties at Qatar’s most successful club with an ambassadorial role within the 2022 World Cup committee and he explains to CNN how he hopes to continue this work whilst moving into a coaching career.
Known predominantly for his 17-year playing career at FC Barcelona, Xavi tells CNN’s Becky Anderson how one of his dreams is to coach the Catalan side himself.
In the interview, shared exclusively with Sport360 in the region, Xavi also states that he believes the World Cup in Qatar will be a hit.
“I want to be a football manager, but it’s a long way away… One of my dreams in the future is to coach FC Barcelona,” says Xavi in the video you can watch above.
“[In Qatar] they love football. They love football a lot, a lot, a lot. Football is just one of their passions. They love sport in general. Qatar is investing a lot in sport, they have the World Cup in 2022, in just under six years’ time.
“It’s a very clear objective, they want it to be good, they want to be competitive, and that’s why we’re here.
“The objective here is to compete at the 2022 World Cup, I’m here to help be more competitive and try to do the best we can. I’m sure that it will be an extraordinary World Cup. Because the country is relatively small, players won’t have to travel far and fans will be able to see many games in one day.”
Luis Suarez ended a six-game scoring drought to set Barcelona on their way to a vital victory over Espanyol in a typically feisty local derby.
Real Madrid’s dramatic triumph over Valencia earlier in the day left Barca with no option but winning to retain their title hopes, but for a long time that outcome looked doubtful in an attritional game which initially yielded few chances.
Mid-table Espanyol had nothing to play for in terms of league placement but they would have loved to upset their local rivals’ title bid, and that showed as they delivered a committed and disciplined performance.
The Barcelona breakthrough came early in the second half, and the hosts were the architects of their own downfall as a horribly misplaced pass from Jurado allowed Suarez to run clean through on goal, and the striker showed no lack of confidence despite his recent dry spell as he converted a crisp low finish.
The points were wrapped up when Lionel Messi made a jinking run from the halfway line before releasing a perfect pass for Ivan Rakitic to coolly stroke home.
And the scoring was completed late on when Espanyol left-back Aaron Martin made a hash of a clearance to give Suarez a simple close-range tap-in.
Andy West delivers his ratings, MOTM and verdict…
Di Lopez 6/10
J Lopez 6
Da Lopez 6
Ter Stegen 6
Luis Suarez grabbed the headlines with two goals, but an even more important contribution to Barca’s victory came from centre back Gerard Pique, whose calm control of the defence prevented Espanyol from exerting any real pressure and allowed Barca to grow into the game.
This was a game Barca needed to navigate safety against an Espanyol team who were determined to upset their title ambitions. The first half was typical of a local derby with more rugged challenges than flowing football, but after Suarez pounced on an awful error to give Barca the lead there was only one winner. If the reigning champions had approached all their away games with such intensity this season they would probably not be in the position of needing other teams to do them a favour.
Neymar is set to see out the final match of his three-game suspension as Barcelona take on Espanyol in the Catalonia Derby on Saturday night – and it goes without saying that Luis Enrique’s men have missed the Brazilian’s services in recent weeks.
As if we didn’t need a reminder, Neymar’s skill, pace and goal threat is too much to handle for most defenders.
The Barca icon has been heavily involved in his very own Neymar Jr’s Five series – and you can watch the first episode below: