Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez bid adieu to his illustrious playing career with a defeat as Al Sadd SC suffered a 2-0 loss to Persepolis FC in their final group game of AFC Champions League 2019.
Al Sadd had already booked a spot in the Round of 16 of the ACL, but their hopes of presenting a parting gift for one of world football’s modern greats came creating down at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran as 2018 runners-up Persepolis decided to bow out on a high.
نادي #بيرسبوليس الإيراني يكرم الأسطورة #تشافي هيرنانديز قائد الزعيم في مباراته الأخيرة كلاعب ضمن مباراة الفريقين بالجولة السادسة من #دوري_أبطال_آسيا#بيرسبوليس_السد@theAFCCL_ar @qatarairwaysar @PersepolisFC pic.twitter.com/OZzeizMNih
— AlSadd S.C | نادي السد (@AlsaddSC) May 20, 2019
The Iranians, who have had a season to forget at the continental stage, scored early through Mehdi Torabi in the 16th minute before Ali Alipour found the back of the net in the 67th minute to seal the result in favour of the home side.
Persepolis had only pride to play for in the final match of their ACL 2019 campaign as they finished third in the group after collecting only seven points from six group games while Xavi’s Al Sadd and Uzbekistan side Pakhtakor Tashkent progressed to the knockout stages.
FT: Persepolis FC 🇮🇷 2-0 🇶🇦 Al Sadd
Hosts end their campaign on a high after scoring goals on either side of the half with Mehdi Torabi playing a crucial role tonight. Al Sadd had already qualified to the R16 prior to MD6.
#ACL2019 #PERvSDD pic.twitter.com/EhmqwClJIF
— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) May 20, 2019
The Round of 16 matches in the West Zone are slated to be held in the month of August, however, Xavi will not be taking field for the Qatar Stars League club then but could well be coaching the side as he is expected to take over from Jesualdo Ferreira as the head coach of Al Sadd in the summer.
The Spanish midfielder is Barcelona’s all-time record appearance-holder in La Liga with 505 caps and also in all competitions with 769 appearances. He won eight La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies during his 17-year-stay in Catalonia.
The 39-year-old moved to Qatar in 2015 and has spent four seasons in Asia winning the Qatari domestic league, Emir of Qatar Cup and Qatar Cup.
Xavi also won 133 international caps for Spain winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2008 and 2012 UEFA Euros with La Furia Roja.