Spain and Barcelona are lamenting the profoundly depressing injury to Gavi, who at 19 was at the top of his game and was playing a major role for both. Yet there has been some blowback for Spain manager Luis de la Fuente, particularly following his comments ahead of the game in which Gavi was injured.
The Barcelona number six played the full 90 minutes in their win against Cyprus last Thursday, and then started again against Georgia on Sunday evening, with some questioning the wisdom of de la Fuente using him from the start twice in games where Spain were comfortable.
After the match, de la Fuente was distraught, and pointed out that Gavi had arrived fresh, not having played against Alaves the weekend before due to suspension. Yet his comments before the Georgia match are the ones that will be played back to him.
“Gavi is hyperactive. He never wants to stop.”
“The good players never rest. They are good players precisely because of that, they can deal with the high rhythm of games. And Gavi is great physcially.”
Spain coach Luis de la Fuente before Gavi’s injury.pic.twitter.com/vcoOaxD6hI
— Football España (@footballespana_) November 20, 2023
“Gavi is hyperactive. He never wants to stop. You only have to see how he trains, he has an energy, for that reason he plays so much and so well.”
“I’ve mentioned this before, and allow me to do so again. The good players, they never rest.”
“The good players, they are always there when they play the European Cup in July, World Cup, Olympic Games. They are good players, because they are very good, but also because they can get through this high rhythm of games.”
“And Gavi, I understand that you have to ration out the efforts, but for any footballer, and especially when you are young, it’s even more important. But Gavi is incredibly gifted physically, and maybe another player couldn’t deal with so many games. And Gavi, it’s different to if we were in March or May and doing this analysis, but we’re in November, and the players are still fresh. So we are going to take advantage of the good players we have, and pick the best ones for this match.”
Of course, hindsight will do de la Fuente no favours, and the injury to Gavi will be thrown back at him given Spain were supposed to make light work of both Georgia and Cyprus. Real Madrid stars Eder Militao and Thibaut Courtois both suffered the same injury in preseason, which shows it isn’t always to do with game time. What seems beyond debate now is that in general the demands being placed on footballers are far too high. This season in La Liga, neither of Barcelona or Real Madrid are yet to field their best XI players together, and the number of serious injuries to top stars is on the rise.
Before everything else – it just really sucks for Gavi.
19, world at his feet, starting for Barcelona and Spain, headed to the Euros and playing monstrous football. Just a horrible, horrible injury.
— Ruairidh Barlow (@RuriBarlow) November 19, 2023