Barcelona on Saturday confirmed what the footballing world was buzzing about for the past week -- the return of Xavi Hernandez to the Catalans, this time as coach.
The 2010 World Cup winner faces an immediate and immense challenge to restore the fallen Spanish giants to their former glory.
The talismanic midfielder left Camp Nou to play for Al Sadd in 2015, after making 767 appearances for the Catalan club, which included winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
"It's time to come home. Welcome, Xavi," Barca tweeted. "It wasn't goodbye, it was see you later," it wrote, along with a video montage of the player's departure in 2015.
Barcelona said in a statement it had reached an agreement with Xavi to become first team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons, replacing the sacked Ronald Koeman.
"It is expected that Xavi Hernandez will arrive in Barcelona this weekend and that on Monday 8 November his presentation as new FC Barcelona first team coach will take place in an event open to the public at Camp Nou," it said.
Barcelona's attempt to appoint Xavi as coach had been held up on Friday over his Al Sadd release clause, with Xavi and Barca considering splitting the payment to complete the deal.
Al Sadd said Barca had agreed to pay the clause in Xavi's contract, which is reportedly set at around five million euros ($5.8 million), but Barcelona did not give any details of the deal in their statement.
Xavi had made no secret of his desire to return to Barcelona, which he joined through the club's La Masia academy at the age of 11.
"My main objective, when I can do it, is Barca," Xavi told the sports daily Marca last year. "It's my home, that's the dream."
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