The two faces of Gavi, who is enjoying a huge rise

Barcelona's 17 year old midfielder is flying and made his Spain debut

| sport

Sergi Capdevila

Nobody can deny Gavi’s meteoric rise. He is Iniesta-esque, but also capable of winning the ball back with a the tenacity of a Makelele, Medel or Casemiro.

The Sevilla-born midfielder, 17, is smashing records. He has started four games for Barcelona and after less than a month at an elite level was called up by Luis Enrique for Spain. It was totally unexpected. Many saw it as unnecessary presser for the kid, who had enough already carrying the weight of Barcelona’s attacking midfield play. But Luis Enrique was proved right against Italy. His risk and his bet, with Gavi shining against Italy.

One aspect that stands out is his technical ability, floating above the pitch, great on the ball, heavily stylised, agility reminiscent of Iniesta or Xavi and innate intelligence. Very La Masia.

On the other hand, he is not fragile. He chases, runs, and defends. With Barca he has three yellow cards in 364 minutes, often early in the game. They say it’s something he should correct, but it’s part of the deal. He’s a born ball recoverer and an insatiable worker.

Against Benfica he won the ball back and put it on a plate for Coutinho, who missed.

Gavi does not understand football in any other way. He doesn’t seem inferior physically to opponents twice his size even though it looks like they could blow him away.

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