By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Sadd midfielder Gabi paid tribute to his captain and fellow Spaniard Xavi Hernandez, who will bring an end to his illustrious playing career today when they face Al Duhail in the Amir Cup final at the Al Wakrah stadium.
“Xavi is a role model and a dedicated player,” said Gabi, who played against Xavi many times in La Liga, where the midfield turned out for Barcelona. “He welcomes everyone and so we are going to miss him. I am happy to work with him. I speak a lot with Xavi and I am asking him to enjoy the final. Xavi is an inspiration and is of a world class standard. I hope we can win the title so that it will be a good farewell for this superstar,” he added.
Al Sadd head coach Jesualdo Ferreira hoped the team can give Xavi a fitting farewell by winning the Amir Cup. The Portuguese manager also backed Xavi to be successful in coaching, which the Spaniard said he will do. “Tomorrow’s game will also be a good farewell for me and Xavi. We want to win the title for him. Xavi will be a great manager,” Ferreira said.
Meanwhile, Al Duhail coach Rui Faria called Xavi a ‘complete midfielder’. “He is a very important player in the history of football. I had the chance to see him play when I was assistant coach of Real Madrid. He is no doubt a very complete midfield player. Qatar will miss him. But I hope we will keep seeing home around in other capacities in football,” Faria said.
Duhail captain Luiz Martin gushed as he called Xavi his role idol. “It’s a big pleasure to play against Xavi. I have a lot respect for him. He is not just phenomenal player but also a very good person. For me it’s been very difficult to play against him as he is the best midfielder. He is also my idol. He has given a lot for Al Sadd club,” Martin said.
On the title clash, the Duhail skipper said they respect the opponents, but they will play to win. “We are very happy to play in the final. Players love to play in such big matches. We have a lot of respect for the opponents and we will do everything to win the cup,” said Martin.
“In the last game in the league, we were unlucky to concede an own goal in injury time. This game is always about important moments. We will focus and avoid making mistakes,” he added.
Gabi, meanwhile, was excited to appear in his first Amir Cup final. “I am very motivated to play my first Amir Cup final in Qatar. Since the first day at Al Sadd, everyone spoke to me about the importance of the Amir Cup,” the former Atletico Madrid midfielder said.
“We will play at one of the 2022 World Cup stadiums and this is a big motivation for us. This final is one for the history books. We played against AlDuhail twice in this season. The final will be tougher and fiercely contested. We want to make this season exceptional for Al Sadd, by winning the double and going forward in the AFC Champions league.”
“Each of our players has a responsibility in this game, which will be a celebration for the country. We don’t play a game like this every day. It will be a super game and we need to give our best,” he said.
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