Barcelona: FC Barcelona footballer Xavi Hernandez received an emotional and well deserved farewell from the people who have been his companions and supporters for 17 years as he drew the curtain on his league career at Camp Nou here.
The 35-year-old confirmed on Thursday that he was leaving Barcelona to end his career in Qatar after 764 appearances which have seen him win eight league titles, two Spanish Cups and the Champions League on three occasions at the club, reports Xinhua.
With this season’s league title already confirmed, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique replaced the veteran midfielder shortly before the final whistle of the 2-2 draw at home to Deportivo la Coruna on Saturday to allow him to receive one last ovation from the stands.
Then at the final whistle Xavi was joined by his teammates on the pitch while the fans remained in their seats to pay homage. The club had prepared a video covering the highlights of his career at the club he joined as an 11-year-old and Xavi thanked everyone with an improvised and emotional speech from the pitch.
He then lifted the league title and the celebrations were able to begin in earnest for the Barcelona squad and the 98,000 supporters in the stands as well as the Deportivo team, who were able to avoid relegation thanks to the draw.
Xavi said that he is going to study to become a coach with the aim of returning to Barcelona in the future but he still has the chance to add to his trophy collection as Barcelona face Athletic Club Bilbao next Saturday in the final of the King’s Cup before taking on Juventus in the Champions League final in Berlin the following week.