MADRID, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona's veteran midfield general Xavi Hernandez said on Tuesday that he is not sure he will end his career with the club.
Although that may shock Barca fans at first reading, it is not a massive surprise given that Xavi will celebrate his 34th birthday at the end of the month and has a contract until the end of June 2016, by which time he will be 36 years old.
Xavi made his first team debut for Barca when he was just 18 years old, but since then his passing ability has developed into an artform and he, more than anyone, can be seen as the architect of the football that made Barcelona the top club in Europe and has made Spain both World and European Champions.
In an interview with 'Panenka' magazine in Spain, Xavi looked into the future and admitted that if he is going to continue playing past 36, he may need to do so at a different club. "It will be difficult to finish my career here. I don't know if I am going to end it at Barcelona, although I would like to. I don't know what is going to happen," he said.
The good news is that after struggling with physical problems in the later stages of last season, Xavi believes he has recovered his physical shape.
"I feel even better than in recent seasons," he insisted, adding that although he doesn't like to be rested for any games, he sees the need to sit matches out now and then.
"I don't want to miss any, but I see the need to dose my efforts a bit more. Maybe in Spain people get carried away when a player reaches 30, but this is the best I have felt in my career. More mature, physically better. It is because I have learned things," he said.
As one of the great passers in the game, Xavi defended Barca's passing game, saying that at times he "feels more frustrated at missing a pass than in missing a chance to score. I am happy plying for Barcelona because of their philosophy," he said, adding that former Barca coach, Pep Guardiola had been "important, " for him, while not holding back on his criticism of former Real Madrid boss, Jose Mourinho, who he said he caused worse relations between the two clubs.
"They call him the 'Special One' because he won this and that, but I don't like how his teams play. I don't think he has left a legacy," said Xavi.
Meanwhile Tuesday saw Leo Messi called into the squad for Barca' s Copa del Rey tie at home to Getafe on Wednesday night.
Messi returns to action after almost two months out as the result of a hamstring injury.