Spanish legend Xavi moving closer to history and Asian title

By PTI Published on Sep 16, 2018 04:28 PM IST

Madrid: Spanish legend Xavi Hernandez can take a significant step on Monday towards becoming the first player to win both the UEFA Champions League and its Asian equivalent.

After four continental titles with Barcelona, the midfielder has one foot in the semifinal of the Asian Champions League with Al Sadd, the club he joined in 2015.

The Qatari powerhouse won its quarterfinal first leg at the Iranian home of Esteghlal 3-1 in August and is ready for the return match in Doha. "I think we can compete with the rest of the teams in Asia for the AFC Champions League title," Xavi told the Asian Football Confederation's website.

"We now have a very good team. This season, we signed good players." Al Sadd, champion in 2011, did the hard work in the first leg at Tehran's famous Azadi Stadium and just needs to avoid defeat at home to progress.

"I think we did well but there's one more game," said the 2010 World Cup winner. "It could be just 90 minutes or it could even go to extra time. We don't know in football, we never know." Should Al Sadd progress to the last four, it could face Persepolis, Esteghlal's Tehran rival, in the same Azadi Stadium that Xavi enjoyed so much in August.

"It was an amazing atmosphere, one of the best that I have seen in my career," Xavi said. "All the spectators were incredible. It was a great place to play football in. I was really enjoying the experience; it's something I really liked."