Barcelona forward Raphinha has revealed that teenage midfielder Gavi is the player who has surprised him the most since he arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer from Premier League side Leeds United.
Gavi only turned 18 in August but has already installed himself as a regular in the starting XI for both club and country. Raphinha has told RAC1 exactly why he’s been so impressed with Gavi since he started playing alongside the combative midfielder, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“Who surprised me the most? Because of his size and age and quality, Gavi,” he said. “Because of the attitude he has on the field, because he is so small but he doesn’t care who he faces, I am very surprised. Many of the players have surprised me, they have a lot of quality.”
Gavi has attracted praise throughout this season. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has said the teenager has been a breath of fresh air to the team, due to his hunger and desire, while Xavi has hit out at criticism of the spiky young midfielder.
The teenager has made 34 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona this season, scoring twice and contributing 3 assists for Xavi’s side.
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Gavi Back From Suspension
Gavi will return from suspension next time out when Barcelona take on Athletic Club in La Liga. The midfielder missed Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Valencia after receiving a one-match ban for yellow card accumulation.
Raphinha was the match-winner against Valencia. The Brazilian headed home the only goal of the game to extend Barca’s lead at the top of the table. Xavi’s side now lead defending champions Real Madrid by nine points after 24 games played.
Yet Raphinha will have to be careful against Athletic. The Brazilian is one of four Barcelona players at risk of suspension as he has received four bookings this season. Sergio Busquets, Franck Kessie and Ferran Torres are in the same position and will be banned if they see yellow at San Mames.
Xavi will be hoping all four players come through the match unscathed, as Barcelona’s next match is against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. Victory over Los Blancos would see Xavi’s side extend their lead over Carlo Ancelotti’s side even further and bring the title into sight.
Raphinha Aiming For Double Figures
Raphinha will head to Bilbao after scoring 8 goals and contributing 9 assists for Barcelona in his debut campaign at the Camp Nou. However, the forward has admitted he wants to hit double figures in both categories before the season is up, as reported by Catalunya Radio.
“I’m never satisfied. At the beginning of the season I put the numbers I want to reach on a piece of paper. When I arrive at a new team, I set myself the goal of scoring 10 goals and providing 10 assists,” he said. “And if I get there I increase 5 goals and 5 more assists […] Now I’m getting close, but with 8 goals and 9 assists I’m still not satisfied. I like to do more and more and more.”
Raphinha has openly admitted he has found life difficult at Barcelona this season, but there’s no doubt he’s improved as the season has progressed and appears to finally be settling into life at the Camp Nou.
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