Santi Cazorla admits that Spain legend Xavi convinced him to join Al-Sadd in the Qatar Stars League.
The former Arsenal man’s contract at Spanish side Villarreal expired this summer and the midfielder completed a move to the country which will host the 2022 World Cup on Friday.
Cazorla, 35, was tipped for a coaching role at Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, but has instead signed a expensive contract with Xavi’s Qatari league champions.
Speaking to the official Al-Sadd website, Cazorla said: ‘It’s a great honour to be with the biggest club in Qatar. Xavi helped me a lot in my decision to come to Qatar.
‘He was a role model for me when I was a player and he is sure to set an example for me as a coach.
‘My goal is to win everything with Al-Sadd, you have to strive to win everything.
‘I want to thank everyone for their encouragement and continued support to the team and I will strive to help the team every day to reap the victories.’
Cazorla and Xavi were international team-mates when Spain won back-to-back European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012.
Xavi, who also won the 2010 World Cup with Spain, has been coaching Al-Sadd since May 2019, having been a player there for the four years prior to his appointment.
Before moving to Qatar in 2015, the retired midfielder had been at Barcelona for the whole of his career, playing 767 games for the Catalans and winning 25 major club honours.
Cazorla had been at Villarreal for two season, having joined the La Liga side after his contract at Arsenal ran out.
The 5ft 6in midfielder played 180 games for the Gunners, scoring 29 goals and winning back-to-back FA Cup trophies in 2014 and 2015.