Xavi renews Al-Sadd contract for 2020-21 season

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FILE PHOTO: Club World Cup - Quarter Final - Monterrey v Al Sadd SC

(Reuters) - Xavi Hernandez has renewed his managerial contract with Qatari side Al-Sadd for the 2020-21 season, the club announced on Sunday amid speculation he could return to his former club Barcelona.

Spanish media had reported that Xavi had been approached by Barca to replace Ernesto Valverde before Quique Setien was appointed in January while reports this week once again linked him with a return to the Camp Nou at the end of the season.

Xavi, 40, took charge of the Qatari side last year following his retirement and the club is currently third in the standings ahead of the restart of the 2019-20 season which was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am happy to continue with Al-Sadd, and the team's goal will always be to compete for all titles," Xavi said in a statement http://www.al-saddclub.com/news/football/xavi-happy-to-renew-my-contract.

"(My) complete focus in this current period is to fully equip the players for the upcoming domestic and Asian competitions."

Xavi, who made 767 appearances for Barcelona and won 25 trophies for the La Liga club, had said last month that he hoped to return to the Camp Nou when the time was right to start his own project from scratch.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)