Xavi Hernandez has tipped Barcelona to embark on a trophy-laden spell in their history following last season’s treble.
The midfielder, who recently called time on his 24-year association with La Blaugrana, also touched on Saturday’s presidential election, which he will participate in, returning to Camp Nou in the future, his support for Catalonian independence and the club’s links with Qatar.
“We’ll have at least two or three more years of winning trophies. [Barca] are a great team and a great group of lads,” he told RAC1.
“We’re the favourites for the League and Champions League, and repeating the treble will be difficult, but it was the same after [Pep] Guardiola and we still did it, considering we’d been taken for fools in January.
“Josep Maria Bartomeu came to my house to convince me into staying at the club.
“He’d already convinced me with [former sporting director Andoni] Zubizarreta and [Coach] Luis Enrique a year ago.
“This time around, he offered me a renewal until 2018, which was very interesting for me, but it was time to go.
“I will vote [in the elections] because I like to participate and it’s an important day for the club, so the more members that vote, the better.
“Both my mother and I, who are socios, will vote. I made my choice some time ago but I won’t disclose it because it’s confidential.
“The four candidates had very good, extraordinary campaigns. I saw the television debate and the four candidates were very good on there.
“My objective is to return to the club, my home, but before that I want to see where else I can go in the world of football.
“Returning is my great hope, but I don’t know it’ll be within the next three or four years. I aim to return once I feel ready.
“[Catalonia] is getting a lot of strong support, but it’s difficult because the Spanish state doesn’t listen [to us] much.
“I think we should take a step forward by Catalonia. I have been with the Spanish national team and never hidden my Catalan allegiance.
“I’ve held Spain Press conferences in Catalan and waved the Catalan flag with Carles Puyol when we won the World Cup.
“I can only speak highly of the Qatari people as they saw me as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup.
“It’s a country that is making many sacrifices for football and sport and wants to improve and learn from Western culture.
“I know there are candidates who don’t want Qatar as a sponsor of the club and I respect that.”