Raul warns Xavi: Qatar stadiums are empty

The Barcelona midfielder is close to a move to Al Sadd but his former Spain team-mate has warned him to prepare for underwhelming atmospheres

Raul has warned Xavi to prepare to play in “half-empty stadiums” if he makes his expected move to Qatar in the summer.

The Barcelona midfielder appears to be very close to sealing a deal to Al Sadd, with the club’s president saying they were confident of securing his services.

Xavi insists nothing is settled yet but Raul, who played for the same club before joining New York Cosmos, says he should be prepare for underwhelming atmospheres.

“I got used to playing at half-empty stadiums at Al Sadd,” he told Panenka. “There was no one in the stands in Qatar. The atmosphere in New York made me all of a sudden feel like I was back at the Santiago Bernabeu.”

The Real Madrid legend also touched on the current Blancos team, stating that Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas are the symbols of the spirit of the club.

“Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas embody it well,” the 37-year-old continued. “But so do several foreign players who have been at the club for a while and really get what it means.”

Raul was part of Real Madrid’s famous Galacticos during his 18 years at the Santiago Bernabeu but he resents the tag and revealed his apathy towards the Ballon d’Or, which he never won.

“I don’t really understand what Galacticos is supposed to mean,” the Spaniard added. “It’s a term I dislike. I like football, pure and simple, and that concept isn’t part of football. It’s something else entirely.

“I’ve devoted my life to doing what I love: playing football. I was runner-up for the Ballon d’Or once and came third on another occasion. Could I have won it? Maybe. But I don’t care. Football is a team sport.”

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