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Xavi close to deal to stay at Barca until retirement

Published on Dec 14, 2012 7:12 AM
Barcelona's midfielder Xavi Hernandez (L) celebrates after scoring a goal during their Spanish League football match against Granada at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 22, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

MADRID (REUTERS) - Barcelona midfielder Xavi is close to an agreement on a new contract that will mean he ends his playing career at the La Liga club he joined more than 20 years ago, the Spain international said on Thursday.

Xavi, who will be 33 at the end of next month, enrolled in Barca's youth academy in 1991 at the age of 11 and made his debut for the first team in a Spanish Super Cup match against Real Mallorca in 1998.

Considered one of the finest playmakers of his, or any, generation, he has helped the club win 20 trophies, including three Champions League crowns and six La Liga titles.

He has also been at the heart of Spain's success in recent years, playing a key role in their triumphs at Euro 2008 and 2012 and the 2010 World Cup.

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