Gabi is a product of the Atlético youth system and despite spending four years away from the club with Real Zaragoza, the 34-year-old went on to make 413 appearances for Los Rojiblancos, scoring 10 goals and claiming 43 assists.
The veteran midfielder will now join Al Sadd, the same club who are captained by former Barça star Xavi, and Gabi revealed that the two spoke at length before a deal was finalised.
“I took the decision to play in Qatar after deep thought, especially as I spent many years playing in Spain,” Gabi told Al-Sadd’s official website. “I now look forward to this new experience at a new club, which I’m sure will be a great one.
“Xavi was the first person to talk to me about coming to Qatar and Al-Sadd. He told me a lot about the project at Al Sadd and that we would make a great duo in it. We will now work together to ensure that more success comes to the club, by winning titles.
“I have seen the sights of Doha and I also observed the preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, including the great facilities at the Khalifa International Stadium. I am convinced that Qatar will host a successful World Cup in 2022.”
World Cup finalist Wesley Sneijder also plays in Qatar with Al Gharafa, while slightly lesser known European stars like Yohan Mollo and Vladimír Weiss also play in the QSL (Qatar Stars League) despite still being in their 20’s.