Spanish star Cazorla hails Xavi as signs on at Qatar's Al-Sadd: club

Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla said "Xavi was very important in my decision to come to Qatar" as he signed for the country's highest-profile team Al-Sadd, where his fellow Spaniard is head coach.

"He was my reference when he was a player, and I'm sure he'll be the same as a coach," he said in a statement as he signed his new two-year contract late Thursday.

The midfielder bid farewell to Villarreal ahead of the team's final game of La Liga against Eibar last month.

The 35-year-old enjoyed a brilliant third spell at Villarreal after two years of serious injuries.

Cazorla previously made 180 appearances over six years for Arsenal and has 81 caps for Spain. He also played for Malaga and Recreativo Huelva after first joining Villarreal as a teenager.

"We have to try to win everything, all the titles," he said in the statement.

"Al-Sadd is the biggest club in Qatar and it's a great honour to be here and to be part of this club."