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Gavi: The future for Spain and Barcelona

Could make history

Atletico Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Can you remember what you were doing at 17 years and 56 days old?

Chances are you weren’t getting ready to become potentially the youngest ever debutant for your country’s football team.

That’s exactly what could be ahead for Pablo Martin Paez Gavira, the player we all know as Gavi.

Still, technically, a second-year youth player at Barcelona, Ronald Koeman has entrusted him to form part of the first-team squad in 2021/22, and he’s already seen action in four La Liga matches and both Champions League encounters.

Whilst many culers still harp on about Riqui Puig’s merits and otherwise, Gavi has usurped his contemporary and taken his chance with both hands.

SL Benfica v FC Barcelona: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Though he’s still a little raw around the edges, his fearlessness has already defined him, and he has become a useful addition to Koeman’s midfield.

There’s no real need to rush him either, given his age. If nothing more, the experience that he’s enjoying at present will hold him in good stead for a more permanent residency when the time is right.

Clearly, Luis Enrique sees much in the youngster to have his interest piqued enough to call him up to the national side.

If he makes debut against Italy in Spain’s Nations League semi-final, Gavi will break Ansu Fati’s record for the youngest player to ever star for La Roja.

Ansu’s current mark is 17 years and 308 days, making him some 252 days older than Gavi when making his bow.

The biggest compliment that can be paid to both players is that one doesn’t even think about their age when watching them in action.

It’s as if Gavi is in his absolute element with a ball at his feet, comfortable in his natural habitat.

Great vision, purposeful and adept at keeping possession even in the tightest situations, it’s rare to see him not on the front foot during games.

Like Riqui, albeit he’s had more of a chance to showcase his talents, Gavi is the type of player that, when he takes the ball, there’s a sense of expectation that something is going to happen. To already have that at 17 is astonishing.

He’s no respecter of reputations either, and we’ve seen just what a great competitor he is too.

Perhaps it’s his ball-winning abilities that gets him the nod over Riqui at this point.

It’s worth pointing out, notwithstanding all of the above, just like Pedri et al he needs to be wrapped in cotton wool.

If he earns a national team cap, the pressure on him escalates ten-fold.

He needs the right people around him, and to be unleashed at the right time, not every time.

What a find!