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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Xavi considering coaching next season, praises Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi reacts after watching a video filled with messages of support and admiration from youth players in Argentina.
Lionel Messi speaks exclusively to ESPN about his future with Argentina leading up to, and after, the World Cup in Russia.
In an interview with ESPN's Diego Monroig, Lionel Messi hits back at claims he makes the decisions for Argentina.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has reiterated his desire to become a coach once his playing career ends, while praising former teammate Lionel Messi as a "normal person" off the field.

Xavi, 37, is currently playing for Al Sadd in the Qatar Stars League, but has also been taking the first steps in picking up his coaching badges. 

The ex-Spain international's contract with Al Sadd, whom he joined in 2015 after ending his 24-year association with Barca, expires next summer, and the 2010 World Cup winner says he'll retire and become a coach soon.

"I've had luck not to be injured and I think my career has come towards its end, there's been a descent," he told Mundo Leo.

"Qatar allowed me this. Now I see myself being more tired, it's harder to recover, it will surely be my last year of being a footballer. I have the idea of getting my coaching license next year and being a coach."

Xavi heaped praise on Messi, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner with whom he won four Champions League titles at the Camp Nou.

He highlighted the Argentine's character off the field, and his ability on it.

"People say that Leo has a special character, very tough, strong, but no. He's not as difficult as people think. But Lionel Messi is a very simple, very normal person," Xavi said.

"He's capable of dribbling, organising the play, passing, making a killer pass, breaking the lines, taking free-kicks, penalties, shooting from outside the area, he's a total footballer and has been progressing through his career.

"Barcelona and Argentina cannot allow 10 minutes of the game to pass without Messi touching the ball, he has to come into the play. He has to be where things happen in the play, where the ball goes."

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