Spain manager Luis de la Fuente was convinced by Gavi’s excellent physical numbers to play him on Sunday night against Georgia, according to Sport.
The 19-year-old is set to miss the rest of the season and likely the Euros with Spain next summer after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, and was left distraught. As was de la Fuente, who described himself as ‘destroyed’ after the match.
As per the report, de la Fuente was considering resting him against Georgia, but Gavi’s eagerness to play and his physical data convinced the Spain coach to use him again. Gavi was one of the footballers who was testing towards the top of their physical fitness assessment.
After the Cyprus match, in which Gavi played 90 minutes, he was going to train at full intensity with the substitutes, but de la Fuente ensured he did a lighter session with the starters.
Barcelona were reportedly furious with de la Fuente and the RFEF for using Gavi again after the Cyprus match, and before the match de la Fuente made the faux pas of declaring that ‘good players like Gavi never rest‘. There is certainly an argument that de la Fuente is responsible for handling Gavi’s enthusiasm and slowing him down more.
Eder Militao and Thibaut Courtois’ early season cruciate ligament tears are evidence that these injuries can occur at any time though, and the general workload for players is too demanding, rather than just the international slate. Given de la Fuente’s comments before the match, and the enormous frustration at losing a player like Gavi, it is little surprise that the finger of blame is pointing at someone, even if a little unfairly.