Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has been full of praise for teenage midfielder Gavi after seeing the youngster break into the first team and become a regular fixture in his starting XI.
Gavi will not celebrate his 19th birthday until August but has already won his first league title with the Catalans. The teenager has become a key player for Xavi, featuring 44 times in all competitions last season, and also playing for Spain at World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
The midfielder may not have been around for long but has already become known for his intensity and tenacity on the pitch. Xavi told Movistar just how moved he’s been by Gavi’s performances at Barcelona, as reported by AS.
“He puts passion into everything. He has even a point of unconsciousness,” he said. “When he passes me onto the field, I get goosebumps, because of how he competes. He is wonderful, dominates with both feet and has a brutal personality.”
The season may have finished for Barcelona but Gavi won’t be able to rest just yet. The teenager has been called into the Spain squad for the team’s Nations League final four fixtures in June.
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Andres Iniesta Joins Xavi In Hailing Gavi
Xavi’s former midfield partner Andres Iniesta has also made it clear how highly he regards Gavi. Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe lost 2-0 to Barcelona in a post-season friendly in Japan, with the midfielder catching up with the teenager before kick-off.
The two players shared a handshake and a hug before the match as well as a quick joke. “You’ll have to give me your jersey or my kids will kill me!” Iniesta quipped before the match, making it clear exactly whose shirt he planned to swap with after the fixture.
Gavi has actually come in for criticism of his physical style this season but has been fiercely defended by Xavi. The coach told a press conference ahead of a Copa del Rey clash with Real Sociedad that suggestions Gavi was “too rough” were “nonsense.”
Barcelona Set to Secure Gavi’s Future
Barcelona are hoping to secure Gavi’s long-term future this summer after a turbulent time. The midfielder agreed a new contract in September 2022, that runs until 2026, but the club have been unable to register the deal with La Liga because of their ongoing financial issues.
Gavi had even switched to the No. 6 shirt during the season, after Barca thought they had been able to register his new deal, before a court ruled the registration was invalid and the teenager had to return to his old No. 30 jersey.
As things stand, Barcelona risk lose Gavi at the end of the season when his contract expires. However. Barcelona are expected to be able to register Gavi’s extension shortly after the club’s financial viability plan was given the OK by La Liga, as reported by ESPN.
The Catalans also hope to register new contracts for Ronald Araujo, Inaki Pena and Alejandro Balde, thereby securing the long-term futures of some of their top youngsters.