Barcelona have appointed their former club captain Xavi Hernandez as new head coach following the sacking of Ronald Koeman last month.
Xavi was the record-appearance holder at Barcelona (767) before being surpassed by Lionel Messi this year and he had been coaching Qatari club Al Sadd.
Last month, Xavi set a new domestic record in Qatari football by guiding his side to a 34-game unbeaten run in the league, while he won seven trophies as club boss since his appointment in 2019 .
According to Al Sadd, Barcelona have paid the £4 .2million release clause in his contract to secure his return to Camp Nou.
Al-Sadd said in a brief statement on Twitter : “The administration agreed on the transfer of Xavi to Barcelona after paying the penalty clause stipulated in the contract.
“We agreed with Barcelona on practical cooperation in the future, Xavi is an important part of the history of the club. We wish him all success in the next stage.”
It’s understood Xavi’s deal with Barca sees him join on a deal until 2024 .
Xavi is the permanent replacement for Koeman in the Barca dugout; the Dutchman had been under pressure since last season but his position became untenable with a defeat in El Clasico against Real Madrid last month followed by a limp loss at Rayo Vallecano three days later – a result which saw Koeman sacked .
The club then elevated their former left-back Sergi Barjuan – coach of the club’s B team – into the position as interim boss to guide the side in the matches going into November’s international break, as they launched a bid to bring Xavi back to Catalunya.
Barca, who are ninth in La Liga, drew 1-1 with Alaves in Sergi’s first game in charge, before beating Dynamo Kiev 1-0 in the Champions League in Ukraine on Tuesday.
Prior to Koeman’s sacking in October, Xavi told an interview with Spanish media outlet 20 Minutos: “My ideal dream would be to coach Barca, that is my goal and my dream and I have never hidden it.
“I don’t know if it will happen or not, if they will need me or not, but at the moment I am happy to be in Al-Sadd and very proud of it.”
Xavi departed Barca in 2015 having won 25 trophies with the club as a player including eight La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns over his 17-season career with the Catalan giants.
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