Al Sadd captain Xavi Hernandez has said the ‘Qatar Classico’ match between his side and Al Rayyan on Friday would highlight the best of what the QNB Stars League has to offer.
Al Sadd have yet to taste defeat this season, comfortably winning their first five games in the league, and the match against Al Rayyan will be a stern test of their title credentials.
“Both sides like to play strong attacking football and the match will be good to watch. Al Rayyan are one of the strongest teams in the QNB Stars League and I’m personally looking forward to the game. It’ll be a great Classico for everyone in Qatar,” said Xavi in an exclusive interview with QSL Online.
“Matches against Al Rayyan are always important for Al Sadd. Last year, we played them in the Emir’s Cup final and we needed a last-minute winner. That’ll be our inspiration heading into the game and I hope we continue our strong start to the season.
“Barcelona against Real Madrid is considered as the ultimate clasico in Europe. Here in Qatar, our match with Al Rayyan is considered as the biggest and this is shown by the build-up in the country by the fans and media ahead of the match. The atmosphere is going to be special,” the midfielder said when asked about his thoughts on the Friday-evening clash.
The former Barcelona and Spain great opined Al Rayyan’s new additions could prove important in the match.
“Al Rayyan bought well in the transfer window this season, adding quality professional and local players to their side. In attack, they’ve Rodrigo Tabata and Sebastain Soria, and have added more goals with Abderrazak Hamdellah, who is already scoring for them. Defensively, they may’ve lost Victor Caceres, but they’ve added Mohammed Kasola and Abdul Maqsoud, two of the best defensive players in the league,” he said.
 Xavi stressed that Al Sadd have to assert their supremacy in the midfield and that’ll be crucial if The Wolves are to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
“We’ve kept the core of the side that did so well last season, we’ve added quality in Boualem Khoukhi and Fahad al-Abdulrahman from Eupen. Both players will be important for us on Friday, and over the course of the season, as we look to compete for all trophies,” said Xavi.
Ending the interview, the playmaker outlined Al Sadd’s targets from what could be his last season as a professional footballer.
“The objective is to win the league title this season. Last year, we won the Qatar Cup and Emir’s Cup.  Now, our aim is the QNB Stars League, which can only be won by the most consistent side in the country. It’s the main target, but we also want to progress in all competitions that we compete in this season,” Xavi concluded. (
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