The young midfielder is called a thug and a butcher in the capital but they are just scared
Madrid are intensifying their campaign against Gavi and every week they try to portray him as a violent player with no self-control. The moment in the Clasico in which he went to barge Dani Ceballos without the ball after the Madrid player had a clash with Robert Lewandowski is serving as an excuse to put him back in the firing line.
They complain that the VAR did not intervene in that play and Madrid's soapboxers won't stop insisting that the young player has refereeing luck, when the reality is that on many occasions the referees do not call fouls on him that are very clear, as Xavi Hernandez recalled a few press conferences ago.
But it was not so much talked about when in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, Ceballos grabbed Gavi's hair in a blatant manner.
In their individual talks, as well as on tactical issues, the Barça coach already insists that he is less impulsive, but for a matter of improving his game and decision making, far removed from what they try to sell in Madrid. "They said he was a butcher? It's surprising, but I'm a homegrown player, I know where the shots come from. He gives everything on the pitch and goes in hard, but he never goes in with bad faith," Xavi said before the Clasico.
The club are very satisfied with Xavi's frequent defence of the player and are delighted with Gavi's play, attitude, dedication and commitment. They also value very positively having been able to create a midfield profile that did not exist at Barça from La Masia. He is technically gifted, has the ability to understand the game, versatility, a capacity for sacrifice and a spectacular character and personality.
In that sense, he reminds some within the club of players like Davids, who arrived in the winter market of the 2003-2004 season under Laporta and was key to the comeback of Rijkaard's Barça, or Deco, who also combined good technique with a fighting and scrapping profile. Of course, he also scored goals too.
In any case, at Barça they don't want Gavi to change the way he plays, despite what they may say from the outside. The courage and impetus with which he goes out onto the pitch is valued as a great quality and they understand that if he trains well, as Xavi does with him, it adds up to a great deal.
Perhaps what Madrid don't like is that a player with these characteristics, who adds intensity and sacrifice to his talent, is in a position to mark an era at Barça.