Xavi Hernandez has argued Spain still have a very strong team but need to believe in themselves, but warned repeating his generation’s success will be hard.
The ex-international has been interviewed by AS upon leaving Barcelona for Al-Sadd, with the conversation centring more on the national team than his former club.
“Thank you, from my heart,” Xavi replies when the interviewer, Joaquin Maroto, offers his tribute to the World Cup winner after Xavi’s emotional goodbye to Barca.
“It’s been an exciting year for me from start to finish and certainly, when preparing a farewell I couldn’t have dreamed that. It was the best goodbye, from a movie script. Barca won three trophies, the League, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
“My time in Spain and with the national team is spent. It’s been an honour and a pleasure to have been a part of the team that was champions of Europe and the world.
“Winning the World Cup was brutal. It will forever be in history, one of the greatest joys of my life, as well as the European Championships. The truth is, it was a privilege to play in that Spain team.
“Playing with the national team was an honour for me. And a great joy, because in 2004 no one thought we were going to turn around the situation to the level to do justice to Spanish football, our League and our players.
“But we did it. And I have been a part of that success. As a player that was unforgettable for me.
“Spain has a great team. They just need to believe it. But to repeat the success of my generation will not be easy. They have to have the right circumstances all come together.
“It’s not enough to have good players, because Spain has them. You also need luck in decisive moments, as we did in quarter-final penalty shootouts, and at decisive moments in the semi-final and final. It takes the wind blowing in your favour.
“But I hope that is the case, that what my generation achieved is repeated. Hopefully there’s more success for the national team, but I insist, it’s not easy to win two Euros and the World Cup in a row.
“I only had two teams – Barca and the national team. I will be very aware of what they do and I’ll continue to cheer their victories, even more than when I was with them. All my friends are playing! I’ll always be a national team player.
“[After being told he would make a great Coach] Thank you! First I have to finish my playing career. I’ll be ready to coach. That’s what I’d like because football is my life. But we’ll see. Being a successful player doesn’t make you a good Coach, although it shouldn’t hold you back either.”