Xavi confirms Barcelona departure

Xavi will end a 17-year association with Barcelona at the end of the season after announcing he will join Al Sadd in Qatar.

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season to join Qatari side Al Sadd on an initial two-year deal.

The diminutive playmaker has played an integral role at Camp Nou for over a decade since making his debut in 1998, featuring in over 700 matches and lifting 23 trophies with the Catalan giants.

Xavi's performances defined a generation at Barca - his calm, controlled play in the middle of the pitch crucial as the club enjoyed a period of great success under Pep Guardiola.

Now 35, Xavi's role has become that of a squad player rather than a regular first-team starter and he has opted to end his association with Barca on a high after claiming an eighth Liga title last weekend.

In his final weeks as a Barcelona player, Xavi has the chance to lift his second domestic and European treble.

Barca take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final at the end of May before meeting Juventus in the final of the UEFA Champions League on June 6.