Barcelona have appointed Xavi as their new manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

The former midfielder, who spent 17 years in the Barcelona first team between 1998 and 2015, joins from Qatari outfit Al Sadd after the two clubs had agreed on the payment of a release clause in his contract.

“FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Xavi Hernandez for him to become first-team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons,” the Catalan club said on its official website.

“Xavi Hernandez, a youth-team product at Barca, has left his current club, Al Sadd of Qatar, after talks held over the last few days with the owners of the club.”

The 41-year-old, who progressed through Barcelona’s La Masia academy, will be unveiled at a press conference on Monday.

Xavi, a World Cup and double European Championship winner with Spain, is one of the most decorated players in Barcelona’s history.

He won 25 major trophies at the Nou Camp, including eight LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.

Xavi made 767 appearances for Barcelona, a club record until the mark was beaten by Lionel Messi.

He joined Al Sadd in 2015, initially as a player, and coached the team to seven different trophies.

Barcelona sacked Ronald Koeman last month and are currently ninth in LaLiga having won only four of their 11 games.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has enjoyed a great start to his managerial career with Al Sadd.

The 41-year-old guided them to league success in 2020/21, while also winning the domestic cup twice and the Super Cup in 2019.

A part of one of the great Barcelona teams, his fellow players firmly believed that Xavi would be the future manager in the documentary Take the Ball, Pass the Ball.

“I’ve got no doubt that he’ll be back as a coach one day,” Lionel Messi said when asked.

‘He deserves the chance because of the type of player he was here. He will make an amazing manager. As a player he saw the whole picture from the pitch, I’m sure from the sidelines he will see it even clearer.”

Sergio Busquets agreed, stating: “He will be back one day, I don’t know when but he wants to come back and he has the same football philosophy as Pep [Guardiola].”

Source: SL