Author of a brilliant Final Four League of Nations, despite the defeat of Spain in the final against France (1-2), Gavi has made a name for himself on the international scene. The ideal symbol of a new generation of Spanish footballers ready to take up the torch from their glorious predecessors.
A focused control followed by a rake to eliminate Antoine Griezmann. This single action is enough to sum up what Pablo Martín Páez Gavira is called “Gavi”. A teenager with a clean playing style and above-average technical quality, symbol of this new Spain version Luis Enrique: young and gifted. Because even if the Red fell at the gates of drunkenness at the Euro first and then against France in the final of the League of Nations this Sunday, his future looks bright. Obviously, Gavi is no stranger to it.
An original creation, La Masia
On October 1, the announcement did not escape anyone. In the middle of the usual group of the Spanish squad selected for the finals of the League of Nations appeared 17-year-old Gavi. A major surprise for the followers of the Spanish selection, curious to discover the new FC Barcelona midfielder. The seven appearances of the Sevillian by birth thus seem to have convinced Enrique, never lacking in imagination when it comes to renewing his workforce. The pedigree of this new shooting star? Born in 2004, Gavi can be proud of having experienced the luxury of training in the Pyrenees. Launched within the Betis school, the native of Los Palacios y Villafranca is completing his apprenticeship at La Masia.
Six years of progress in all categories of young people before discovering the deep end in this 2021-2022 campaign. Launched by Ronald Koeman with the same title Nico González (son of the old legend of Deportivo La Coruna, Fran, NDLR) and Alejandro Balde, Gavi has thus started the new generational cycle of Barça. Its technical facilities are obvious and allow it very quickly to integrate a Barcelona rotation in total reconstruction. (only 353 minutes of play, however, Editor’s note). Never far from the Catalan sphere – which many blame him elsewhere – the coach Enrique therefore “logically” threw himself on the phenomenon announced to promote the emergence of a new generation of millennial footballers. After Pedri and Yeremi Pino in particular, the bet is winning.
Gavi, Pedri and Papa Busquets
To start his international adventure, Gavi was able to extend his entire class against Italy, in the semi-finals of the League of Nations. Aligned left axis, the kid was quick to extinguish the flames Jorginho and Barella. Far from being embarrassed by the size of the opponents, he turned into the second raiser of a team occupying the entire width of San Siro and facilitated the transitions to his sidekick Marcos Alonso. A preferential circuit which made the rear guard waver blue and installed the torchbearer in the heart of the game, despite his number 9 in the back. The place is ready, able to forget the absences of intermittent Thiago Alcântara and Fabián Ruiz, at least, the time of two games.
If this ease was less visible against France in the final – the fault of an omnipresent Paul Pogba and an insufficient size -, Gavi perfectly illustrates the uninhibited character of these Spanish neophytes. Four months after Pedri, Barça’s new gem seems to be learning quickly from a Sergio Busquets far from the state of rust. A striking mimicry, both in the handling of the ball without running at high intensity and in the protection of the ball without getting your shorts dirty. This course that elements such as Juan Mata or Dani Parejo have never managed to cross in selection in this post-Euro 2012 period, the apprentices Gavi or Pedri assimilate at high speed. And without drawing hasty conclusions on the performance of growing teenagers, the genesis of a new quality wine for Spain is now undeniable.
By Adel Bentaha