Xavi felt nostalgic as he reflected on the success he and Gerard Pique shared at Barcelona, but he said the club should now look forward.
Xavi described Gerard Pique’s retirement as “the law of life” and confirmed it could prompt Barcelona to dive back into the transfer market in January.
Aged 35 and with a limited role this season, Pique has taken it upon himself to time his career rather than sign a contract that would run until 2024.
Head coach Xavi acknowledged his decisions led to this point when he made it clear to Pique in pre-season that he would not be a regular starter.
Pique will play his final game at the Camp Nou on Saturday, assuming he starts against Almeria, and told Xavi he will also be available to face Osasuna in an away game on Tuesday.
The season will then be cut short as the World Cup takes over and Pique will bid farewell to his boyhood club, for whom he made over 600 appearances.
Barcelona will move on without him and Xavi said: “Now we need to build a new generation. A lot of young players are becoming important. It’s a new era.”
“We hope it’s a new generation that gives a lot to the club. It’s a shame to see great teammates and friends say goodbye to football.”
“It’s sad to see, it makes you nostalgic, but it’s a law of life and it happens to everyone.”
Xavi believes Pique, who already has significant business interests, could be Barcelona’s future president.
“Gerard can be whatever he wants,” Xavi said when prompted. “For the skills he has, the leadership, the personality he brings, he can be whatever he wants to be. He’s got the skills, no doubt.”
“He’s super competitive, intelligent, has an amazing intellectual capacity, much more than normal.”
With Pique on the way, Barcelona will lack a defender where Xavi would want them. He had hoped Pique would stay, but instead confirmed talks would take place over the possibility of a new signing.
“We’ll see. Now Gerard is leaving, yes maybe,” Xavi said at his press conference on Friday.
“We will have a meeting after the match against Osasuna to plan a bit. We will have time to plan with Mateu [Alemany, sporting director] and the president [Joan Laporta].”
Xavi played in the same team as Pique for seven years from 2008 to 2015, they won three Champions Leagues together and won a lot of domestic honors. They were also teammates with Spain for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 triumphs.
The coach has no doubt that Pique will succeed in whatever he sets his mind to.
“A lot of times we don’t choose the end,” Xavi said. “For better or for worse, it worked out this way and I wish him all the best.
“He’s always given his all. He’s a winner, he’s always been a winner and he’ll continue to be wherever he goes.”
Pique will be hoping his final game at Barcelona is a winning farewell and the signs are good.
Among current LaLiga teams, Barcelona have gone more games unbeaten against Almeria (W12 W10 D2) than against any other opponent. Barcelona have won six games against Almeria in LaLiga at home, scoring three or more goals in each of the last three.
Almeria’s Rubi has lost all six of his games as head coach in LaLiga against Barcelona and the club have not won away from home against any LaLiga opposition since February 2015, during the relegation season. They have drawn once and lost 12 since last winning LaLiga, with this their first season back in the top flight.