Xavi Hernandez has clarified comments he made that appeared to suggest he saw his long-term future away from Barcelona.
In an interview with FIFA’s official website, the midfielder has explained that while he would love to remain at Camp Nou for the rest of his career, he won’t be allowed to do so if he isn’t performing well enough.
“What I said was more about how demanding it is [at Barca], rather than not wanting to [retire in the club’s colours].
“On the contrary, I’d love to hang up my boots at Barcelona and stay involved with the club, which I think is the best in the world, for many years.
“I’ve felt that way since I was a boy and still feel the same today.
“I’d like to still be at Barcelona when I retire, but I know how demanding it is.
“That’s why I said it’s not my decision: to retire here I’ll have to keep performing at the highest level. Let’s hope I can do it, it’s my biggest dream.”
Xavi added that as it stands, he feels he can continue to reach the level required.
“I think so, though we’ll have to see how my legs hold up and the games go.
“But I’m really excited about competing for La Liga, the Champions League, the World Cup… I’m genuinely enjoying myself, both with Barcelona and the national team.
“Playing football is what I’m passionate about, what I enjoy doing most.
“All I can do is put in the effort, keep looking at myself and listening to my body, and see how long I can keep going.”
Xavi is regularly partnered for club and country by Andres Iniesta, an association he feels is a positive sign.
“We are often referred to in the same sentence and that’s good, right?
“Years ago there were people that said we couldn’t play together. So, it’s more than welcome as praise always goes down well, particularly when you look at what we’ve been through.
“We didn’t used to win anything and now we’re being successful at both team and individual level, enjoying a wonderful era that I hope will last a few years longer.”