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Andres Iniesta: Playing alongside Xavi at Barcelona 'a privilege'

Andres Iniesta has paid tribute to Xavi Hernandez amid speculation his Barcelona teammate will announce that he is moving to Qatar this week.

AS has reported that Xavi, 35, will announce at a news conference on Thursday that he has signed a three-year contract with Qatari side Al Sadd.

Iniesta, 31, has spent his entire career playing alongside Xavi in midfield for Barcelona and Spain and he said: "I am out of compliments. I will not find anyone at the stature of what he represents as a person and a player.

"The figures, the years, the feelings, his way of doing things are beyond any words. He is a unique player, unrepeatable and has been fundamental at the club and with the national team.

"It is a true pleasure and privilege to have had my entire career at his side."

Xavi has made 30 La Liga appearances this season, starting 18 times.

Xavi, who came close to joining New York City FC last summer before agreeing to prolong his stay at Barca, visited Qatar in March but played down reports he had agreed a transfer to Al Sadd during the trip.

The former Spain international, who has made more appearances for Barca than any other player in their history, made his first-team debut for the club in 1998.

This season's La Liga success marks his eighth league title in 17 seasons at the Camp Nou, and he has won 23 trophies in total with the club, including three Champions League triumphs. He has also won the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.

Meanwhile, Iniesta has said he is now thinking about a potential career as a coach once he retires as a player.

"Three or four years ago I did not think [about] it, but increasingly there is less time left to stop playing football and it is a situation that I like more," Iniesta said. "We'll see what happens in the future, now we will enjoy the present that I still have to play."


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