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Xavi distances himself from 'next Guardiola' tag ahead of coaching career

Xavi Hernandez

Doha/London, October 5: Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez has demanded people afford him the patience he was never given as a player when he eventually embarks on his coaching career.

Xavi left the Catalan giants in 2015 after enjoying immense success with the club he joined in his youth, leaving a lasting legacy.

The midfielder remains the club's all-time leading appearance maker, having featured 767 times in all competitions, and has been tipped as a future coach of Barca and Spain.

Now plying his trade with Al Sadd in Qatar, Xavi is preparing to move into coaching, but he hopes people will let him develop at his own pace, something he feels he could not do as a player.

"Now I can train in small countries, but next year, in May, I hope to get the UEFA Pro license to be able to train any team," Xavi told TV3.

"As a player it was the same, people expected things from me prematurely, like when I was said to be the new Guardiola and I still don't see it.

"Now it's the same, I do not see how it can be yet. We must be patient."

Xavi has been with Sadd ever since he left Barca and, although many suggested at the time that he could still be of use to a top club in Europe, the 38-year-old is enjoying being out of the spotlight.

"Before I was in the aura of competing, with that tension and that pressure," he said. " when you sit back, you think, 'that's good'.

"I'm a contradiction, because I do not like to be a protagonist, but when you play at Barca you are the protagonist.

"Now I'm more natural, I have more time for everything. Before I didn't, because since I was 16 I had been a professional player.

"Even if you a young player, you have to take care of yourself and so on, and it has been a very great tension for many years."

Xavi-led Sadd face an uphill task to reach the AFC Champions League finals after going down 0-1 to Iran's Persepolis in the first leg in Doha.

The return leg will be played at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on October 23.

(With inputs from OPTA and other Agencies)

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    Story first published: Friday, October 5, 2018, 15:00 [IST]
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