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How Xavi Hernández said farewell to Barcelona

"It's going to be difficult not wearing the Barça shirt," said Xavi Hernández as he announced his decision to bring an end to his FC Barcelona career; here is his farewell address.

Xavi Hernández announces Barcelona departure ©AFP/Getty Images

On his decision to move on
"It's a final, difficult decision that hasn't been easy to arrive at. I've agreed this with my wife and family. I think this is the time to leave. That's what I feel.

"I was offered another year but I'd made my mind up. Thanks to the supporters – especially in last few games, they've been brilliant asking for me to stay and I hope I haven't disappointed them. It's time to think about the future, and it's my objective to come back here. This is my home, whether that's as a coach or in another capacity.

"The board gave me a wonderful offer to stay here to 2018. In my head and body it's the right time to go – not in my heart as Barcelona is all there is in my heart.

"The script has worked out perfectly. We have won the league, the most difficult and special thing to win. It reflects the work of a whole season. I'm very excited to lift that trophy for the last time in front of these supporters. It couldn't have been a better way to end my time here.

"Today. I told the whole squad and manager officially, but I think they generally knew. When me and my family went to visit Qatar I think it was fairly obviously the idea of going there appealed to me."

On his feelings for the club
"This club is my life – I'm dedicated to Barça and I'd like to come back.

Xavi could win two more trophies yet
Xavi could win two more trophies yet©Getty Images

"I'm really happy. I couldn't have had a better career here. I'm delighted with how it has gone. I've made the most of my assets as a footballer. I feel very happy right now, it's just a question of winning these two trophies that are left and saying goodbye to the fans. On Saturday I'd like to say goodbye to them in a special way.

"I've been at the club for 25 years. I couldn't have been in a better place. I have very strong feelings for the club."

"It's going to be difficult not wearing the Barça shirt. They've been unique, special moments and I've wanted to make the most of all of them. I really didn't want this time to come –  I've been dreading it. I'll miss all the lads –  they're friends of mine.

"Barça will carry on winning, competing and playing well. History shows that. We've always rebuilt and continued. With me it's the same. They'll bring through new players, sign players and we have a strong group of lads here already."

On his Barcelona career
"It wasn't easy – especially in the early days. There were lots of doubts about me. People didn't believe in me. I was getting credit when we were winning but I was also getting blamed when we were losing; it hasn't all been plain sailing

"I came in to replace Pep Guardiola – it was a huge responsibility trying to erase the memory of him. Nobody was really his natural successor and I don't think any one person will be a direct successor for me.

"I've just enjoyed myself so much. Playing in Champions League finals, EURO finals, World Cup finals …  but I enjoyed myself just as much as I did back in the playground. Could I pick out one game? There have been so many games it's impossible to pick out one single moment."

Xavi's Barcelona highlights
Xavi's Barcelona highlights