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Xavi Hernandez signs contract extension with Al Sadd until 2018

Xavi has hit the ground running in Qatar with Al Sadd.
Xavi Hernandez joined Al Sadd from Barcelona in 2015.

Xavi Hernandez has agreed a one-year extension to his contract with Al Sadd which will see him remain in Qatar until at least 2018, the club confirmed on Thursday.

Xavi, who turned 37 on Wednesday, joined Al Sadd from Barcelona in 2015 on an initial two-year deal, but has decided to take up an option to prolong his stay into a third year.

Since leaving Barca, the former Spain international has made almost 50 appearances for Al Sadd, who are currently second in the Qatar Stars League after 12 games.

Last season saw them finish third in the table, although that was enough for them to qualify for the AFC Champions League. They will play Iranian side Esteghlal next month in the playoff round in an attempt to qualify for the group stage of the competition.

Next season, though, is likely to be Xavi's last as a professional before he turns his attention to coaching. He will be 38 by the time his third year at Al Sadd comes to an end.

In the meantime he has already began work towards his coaching badges and has never made any secret of his desire to one day manage, preferably back at Barca, where he had such an illustrious career.

"Coaching Barca is one of the ideas I have," he told Cadena Ser in September. "I don't know if it will all come together, but I like coaching more and more every day. But it's too soon to return to Barcelona at the moment. I'd like to play for two more years, take my coaching badges and then see."

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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