Barcelona favourite Xavi has tested positive for Covid-19.
The former Spain midfielder announced the news on Saturday via Qatari outfit Al Sadd, the club he joined as a player in 2015 before taking the managerial reins following his retirement last year.
Al Sadd are the reigning Qatar Stars League champions and are due to face Al Khor later on Saturday in their first fixture back following the division’s coronavirus-enforced suspension.
Xavi – who says he is feeling fine despite the diagnosis – will now be absent from the touchline for that match as he enters a period of mandatory self-isolation, handing temporary control over to reserve coach David Prats.
“Today I won’t be able to join my team on their comeback to the official competition,” Xavi said in a statement relayed via Al Sadd’s official Twitter account.
“A few days ago, following the @qslprotocol, I tested positive in the last COVID19 test. Fortunately, I’m feeling ok, but I will be isolated until I am given the all clear.
“When the health services allow it, I will be very eager to return to my daily routine and to work.
“I’d like to thank all the authorities, especially those working in @qsl, @qfa and @alsaddsc for supplying the means of early detection, reducing the spread of infection and that guarantees the normal development of the competition.
“Take care and see you soon on the football pitch.”
One of the most celebrated midfielders of modern times, Xavi – who has been frequently linked with a return to Camp Nou as head coach – made 767 appearances for Barcelona between 1998-2015, winning a plethora of silverware including eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns.
He was also an instrumental figure in the Spain team that triumphed at three successive major tournaments between 2008-12, including the 2010 World Cup.