Xavi Blasts ‘Nonsense’ Criticism of Barcelona Midfielder

Xavi Hernandez

Getty .Xavi is backing Gavi.

Barcelona coach Xavi has hit back at criticism of teenage midfielder Gavi ahead of his team’s next game against Real Sociedad in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Xavi was asked at a pre-match press conference if the young tyro is “too rough” on the pitch and gets away with too many fouls. The Barcelona boss made his feelings crystal clear with a strong defense of the Spain international.

“Nonsense. There is a referee on the pitch making decisions. He plays with passion and courage. He doesn’t need to worry,” he said. “I think he is actually fouled a lot and not many are given in his favor. Where does this come from, the creators of the Villarato?”

The word Villarato is used by the Spanish press and relates to perceived refereeing favoritism towards Barcelona after the Catalans backed Angel Maria Villar’s presidency of the Spanish football federation.

Gavi is still only 18 but is known for his passionate, all-action style of play that often brings bookings. The teenager has been yellow carded five times already this season and was sent off late year against Granada.

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Xavi Tells Gavi Not To Worry

Xavi also told Gavi not to worry about any negative comments. The Barcelona manager feels the midfielder is more harshly treated when he is playing for his club as opposed to when he takes to the pitch in Spain’s colors.

“When he goes with the Spain team he’s wonderful and when he plays with Barca it seems he crosses the line,” he said.  “This is how I see it. With Spain, he’s an example of fight and courage and with Barça he is too rough.  And if Barcelona win, he’s even less liked. I would tell Gavi not to worry, not to put the brakes on and to keep playing with the same passion and courage or even more. He has no ceiling.”

Gavi is already a key player for both club and country despite his tender years. He was part of the Spain squad at the 2022 World Cup and become the youngest player to score at a World Cup since Pele in 1958 when he netted against Costa Rica.

Gavi Part Of Bright Barca Future

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Barcelona teenager has made a huge impact since breaking into the team last season and enjoying a record-breaking campaign. Gavi played 47 times in all competitions, hitting a host of landmarks along the way.

The youngster’s performances have not gone unnoticed either. Gavi won the 2022 Kopa Trophy at the prestigious Ballon d’Or awards and also beat off stiff competition to be named the 2022 Golden Boy.

Gavi is one of a host of talented youngsters in the first team at Barcelona along with Pedri, Ansu Fati, Alejandro Balde, Pablo Torre and Ronald Araujo which suggests the club has a very bright future ahead.

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