TEHRAN: Xavi Hernandez’s dazzling career came to a low-key end when his Qatari side Al Sadd were beaten 2-0 by Iranian giants Persepolis in their last group match of the AFC Champions League on Monday.
The 39-year-old midfield genius, who helped Spain win the World Cup in 2010 and won four UEFA Champions League titles and eight La Liga titles with Barcelona, was cheered by fans at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran where already-eliminated Persepolis produced an improved display to register only their second win in six matches. Just 11,000 spectators were present in the 100,000-capacity stadium, mostly wearing the red of Persepolis, who won the Iranian league title days before this match.
Several home fans brandished banners reading “Adios Xavi” to show their appreciation of the player who with Andres Iniesta formed the backbone of one of Barcelona’s greatest ever sides. Xavi was also honoured by the Persepolis management who presented him with a jersey featuring the number six he has worn in his career. But Al Sadd’s second defeat in a row, following their 4-1 thrashing by domestic rivals Al Duhail in last week’s Amir Cup final in Doha, meant Xavi’s career ended in a low-key fashion.